SCOTUS to allow junk climate lawsuits in State courts… Yawn

Guest “fake news” by David Middleton

“O Vanguard of the Climatariat, smite the denialists and lead the masses. O forward-looking shepherds of a mindless flock, go forth and cool the earth”

Tongan prayer according to the Columbia Journalism Review

Supreme Court deals blow to oil companies by turning away climate cases



Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday allowed lawsuits brought by municipalities seeking to hold energy companies accountable for climate change to move forward in a loss for business interests.

The court turned away oil company appeals in five cases involving claims brought by cities and municipalities in Colorado, Maryland, California, Hawaii and Rhode Island as part of efforts to hold businesses accountable for the effects of climate change.


“Big Oil companies have been desperate to avoid trials in state courts, where they will be forced to defend their climate lies in front of juries, and today the Supreme Court declined to bail them out,” said Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, an environmental group.


NBC News

Why is this “fake news”? Because it’s not really newsworthy and certainly not a “blow to oil companies.” It just means that the junk climate lawsuits will have to work their way through State and Federal courts. This ruling was foreordained by the 2022 SCOTUS 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. (I don’t care if foreordained might not be the right word here.)

The misguided 2005 SCOTUS 5-4 decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency essentially federalized the issue of regulations related to climate change. The subsequent 2009 endangerment finding essentially self-empowered the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The mind bogglingly stupid Clean Power Plan of 2015 effectively established a framework for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. While being baseless in fact and law, these three events essentially blocked junk climate lawsuits in State courts. In 2016, SCOTUS stayed the Clean Power Plan in a 5-4 decision.

The stay was issued along party lines, with the five conservative-leaning justices voting for the stay and the liberal-leaning justices voting against it. However, four days after the high court issued its stay, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. Because the Court issued its stay prior to Justice Scalia’s death, it remains in place. However, there is now a 4–4 tie among the justices as to whether the EPA has the powers it proposes to exercise under the Clean Power Plan. The Court is expected to remain at just eight justices for quite some time, due to an impending standoff between President Obama and the Senate over Justice Scalia’s replacement. If that is the case, then the ultimate decision on the legality of the Clean Power Plan may lie with the D.C. Circuit for the time being, due to Supreme Court rules on ties. In the event of a tie, the Court upholds the decision of the lower court, but that decision does not apply outside the circuit and does not create precedent.


Had Donald Trump not crushed Hillary Clinton in 2016, SCOTUS would have upheld the Clean Power Plan, the EPA would be aggressively regulating greenhouse gas emissions and, as a consolation prize, the junk climate lawsuits would be deader than Elvis. SCOTUS is now composed of 3 Justices who will always uphold the Constitution, 2 who will almost always uphold the Constitution, a Chief Justice who will usually uphold the Constitution and 3 who will always uphold the Communist Manifesto… {/Rant Off}

In 2022, the Court ruled that the Clean Air Act did not empower the EPA regulate greenhouse gas emissions to the extent imposed in the 2015 Clean Power Plan.

Congress did not grant the Environmental Protection Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan.

Under the “major questions doctrine,” there are “extraordinary cases” in which the “history and the breadth of the authority that [the agency] has asserted,” and the “economic and political significance” of that assertion, provide a “reason to hesitate before concluding that Congress” meant to confer such authority. This is one such case, so the EPA must point to “clear congressional authorization” for the authority it claims. It cannot do so.


This effectively opened to floodgates to junk litigation against energy companies. These junk lawsuits have no merits and will only succeed when juries rule on emotion. Ultimately, this will probably come back to SCOTUS for the final decision.

Monday’s high court decision also finds that the Clean Air Act does not completely bar state law claims regarding interstate pollution, ClearView noted, adding “therefore, these cases can and should be adjudicated by state courts.” The industry wagered that the state lawsuits might be quashed by the Clean Air Act, which federal agencies have used to address carbon emissions.

The research firm noted that the state court process can take a year or more and any decision on the actual merits of the cases “could still be years away.”

It also said that allowing the cases to play out in state court does not prevent the energy companies from winning on the merits — by arguing that federal law bars the cases. Nor does it prevent federal review of future state court rulings.

“The Supreme Court may still yet be the final word on the merits of the climate liability cases — several years from now,” ClearView wrote.

E&E Climatewire

But… Hey… EXXON KNEW… Right?

This cartoon appears on page 62 of the Charleston SC lawsuit and nearly every other junk climate lawsuit:

Figure 1. This is Figure 3 in the Charleston lawsuit. It is Exxon’s “Black” cartoon. The exact image and caption are in multiple junk lawsuits.

The exact same image, including the caption is in Delaware’s recent junk lawsuit. The graph is from what is known as the “Black presentation” and supposedly reveals Exxon’s secret knowledge of climate change, which was being withheld from the public. The “infamous” 1978 Black presentation was derived from government and academic publications and conferences on the so-called greenhouse effect.

Here’s what Exxon (and/or Mobil) knew in 1978…

Figure 2.. Exxon knew that most government and academic scientists wanted more research money.
Figure 3. In 1978, Exxon knew that the effects on sea level and the polar ice caps would likely be negligible, models were useless and more effort should be directed at paleoclimatology.

Black’s allegedly proprietary climate model was just a cartoon based on publicly available literature. I overlaid HadCRUT4 (Northern Hemisphere) on the Black cartoon:

Figure 4. What Exxon knew during “The Ice Age Cometh.”

If HadCRUT4 is right (it isn’t), it’s now only slightly warmer than the “approximate range of undisturbed climate in past few centuries.”  Just like the models of today, the observations track at or below the 95% confidence band.  Way back in 1977, Exxon Knew that the climate models overestimated warming!

What’s even funnier? The “Black presentation” was made during the height of That 70’s Climate Crisis Show. If the climate models are correct (they aren’t), ExxonMobil and other purveyors of fossil fuels saved the world from this:

Figure 5. The Climatariat tell us that temperature observations have followed the black curve and that the blue curve is what the temperatures would have done if we just agreed to freeze in the dark for the sake of Polar Bears. Modified after IPCC AR4

Just imagine the lawsuit if Exxon and all of the other purveyors of fossil fuels had stopped producing and selling fossil fuels back when they first learned “that unrestricted production and use of fossil fuel products create greenhouse gas pollution that warms the planet and changes our climate,” and this actually occurred:

This section was adapted from: Charleston SC Junk Climate Lawsuit.

Maybe we should be suing them

The climatariat claim that fossil fuel consumption kills people (Bressler, 2021) and we should immediately stop using them.

The social, or financial, cost of carbon has become a widely-used metric after its creation by economist William Nordhaus, who subsequently won a Nobel prize, in the 1990s. The measurement calculates the damage caused by a ton of emissions, factored with the ability to adapt to the changing climate.

Under Nordhaus’ DICE model the 2020 social cost of carbon is $37 a metric ton but Bressler’s addition of the mortality cost brings this figure up to $258 a ton. This change to the model would imply that an economically optimal policy would be to radically reduce emissions to reach full decarbonization by 2050, a scenario that has also been backed by climate scientists as one that would avoid the worst ravages of global heating.

“Nordhaus came up with a fantastic model but he didn’t take in the latest literature on climate change’s damage upon mortality, there’s been an explosion of research on that topic in recent years,” said Bressler.

The Grauniad, July 2021

This carbon tax calculator only goes up to $50/ton. Just multiply the $50/ton tax by 4.7 to get the effect of a $235/ton tax.

A $258/ton carbon tax would have this effect on reliable energy prices:

Figure 5. Impact of a $235/ton carbon tax.

While numbers can vary depending on grades of gasoline, on average, the combustion of 1 gallon of gasoline yields 8.89 kg of CO2.

  • 1 metric ton = 1,000 kg
  • $235/metric ton = $0.235/kg
  • 8.89 kg/gal x $0.235/kg = $2.09/gal… Slightly higher than the calculator

How does a gallon of gasoline, which weighs less than 3 kg, yield nearly 9 kg of CO2?

Molecular weight:

  • O = 16
  • C = 12

Chemical equation for combustion of octane:

  • 2[C8H18] + 25[O2] → 16[CO2] + 18[H2O]

The C comes from gasoline, the O2 comes from the air.

The Grauniad article even idiotically states that “three Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill one person”… Splain this then:

Figure 6. Life expectancy and energy consumption
Life Expectancy: Our World in Data
Energy Consumption: Bjorn Lomborg, LinkedIn

From 1800 to 1900, per capita energy consumption, primarily from biomass, remained relatively flat; as did the average life expectancy. From 1900 to 1978, per capita energy consumption roughly tripled with the rapid growth in fossil fuel production (coal, oil & gas). This was accompanied by a doubling of average life expectancy. While I can’t say that fossil fuels caused the increase in life expectancy, I can unequivocally state that everything that enabled the increase in life expectancy wouldn’t have existed or happened without fossil fuels, particularly petroleum.

Our modern society would not exist without fossil fuels and it would collapse in a heartbeat if fossil fuels were made unavailable and/or unaffordable.

The Modern World Can’t Exist Without These Four Ingredients. They All Require Fossil Fuels


MAY 12, 2022

Modern societies would be impossible without mass-scale production of many man-made materials. We could have an affluent civilization that provides plenty of food, material comforts, and access to good education and health care without any microchips or personal computers: we had one until the 1970s, and we managed, until the 1990s, to expand economies, build requisite infrastructures and connect the world by jetliners without any smartphones and social media. But we could not enjoy our quality of life without the provision of many materials required to embody the myriad of our inventions.

Four materials rank highest on the scale of necessity, forming what I have called the four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics, and ammonia are needed in larger quantities than are other essential inputs. The world now produces annually about 4.5 billion tons of cement, 1.8 billion tons of steel, nearly 400 million tons of plastics, and 180 million tons of ammonia. But it is ammonia that deserves the top position as our most important material: its synthesis is the basis of all nitrogen fertilizers, and without their applications it would be impossible to feed, at current levels, nearly half of today’s nearly 8 billion people.


Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of over forty books on topics including energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy. His new book is How the World Really Works

Time Magazine

Natural gas literally feeds half the people on this planet.

About 25% of bulk chemical natural gas consumption is used as a feedstock for fertilizer production. The Haber-Bosch process, which manufactures synthetic fertilizer from natural gas and atmospheric nitrogen, feeds nearly half of the world population.

“Trends in human population and nitrogen use throughout the twentieth century. Of the total world population (solid line), an estimate is made of the number of people that could be sustained without reactive nitrogen from the Haber–Bosch process (long dashed line), also expressed as a percentage of the global population (short dashed line). The recorded increase in average fertilizer use per hectare of agricultural land (blue symbols) and the increase in per capita meat production (green symbols) is also shown.” Erisman et al., 2008

The climatariat modelers claim that fossil fuel emissions are killing 8 million people per year… While real world data demonstrate that 4 billion people would quickly starve to death without fossil fuels and the other 4 billion people would be deprived of damn near everything required for life in the modern world.

The hysterical demands to end fossil fuels are essentially demands for genocide. Under the right (or wrong) circumstances, junk lawsuits could be the first wave in such a genocide. While these junk lawsuits are unlikely to succeed with the current ideological composition of the US Supreme Court, Justices Thomas and Alito are in their 70’s. If Biden is given an opportunity to replace them, the Court would have a solid 5-4 left wing majority. Such a court would wholeheartedly uphold such thermonuclear lawfare against the fossil fuels industries and capitalism in general.

This issue is at least as important as our recent global financial crisis – probably more so in the long run. It has been said that regulating carbon dioxide emissions will make the United States the cleanest Third World country on Earth. And whoever controls carbon dioxide emissions will control the world.

Dr. Roy Spencer, April 2009


Bressler, R.D. The mortality cost of carbon. Nat Commun 12, 4467 (2021).

Erisman, J. W., Sutton, M. A., Galloway, J., Klimont, Z. & Winiwarter, W. How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nat. Geosci.1,636–639 (2008)

“Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency.” Oyez, Accessed 25 Apr. 2023.

“West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.” Oyez, Accessed 25 Apr. 2023.

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Frank from NoVA
April 26, 2023 6:17 am

The science is junk, the lawsuits are silly but the real intent is to bleed the energy companies dry through litigation. None of this goes away until the Endangerment Finding is revoked or the economy collapses, whichever occurs first.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 26, 2023 6:22 am

Lawyers rejoice !

Reply to  vuk
April 27, 2023 7:01 am

It reminds me of a scene from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where two programmers named Lunkwill and Fook were chosen to propose the Ultimate Question to Deep Thought, the program ran for 7.5 million years.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 26, 2023 7:13 am

Sort of like what the Dems/media are trying to do to Trump. Exhaust them until they die.

Ron Long
April 26, 2023 6:48 am

I am quite happy that David is foreordained to defend the oil and gas business against the CAGW Loonies. Go get ’em.

Mike Dombroski
April 26, 2023 7:46 am

Amazing work David. You’ve turned a report on an obscure court decision into one of the best summaries of the world energy economy I’ve ever seen.

Dave Yaussy
Reply to  Mike Dombroski
April 26, 2023 9:08 am

Yes, David has done a good job of pointing out the foolishness of the lawsuits, but I’m a little more concerned about them being in state court than he is. Having practiced in both state and federal court, you have a little more predictability and professionalism in the latter, and are a little less likely to be tossed around as a political football.

But wherever they are heard, I will be following with interest the defenses that Exxon and others mount. Will they finally challenge the junk science that lies at the base of all these claims? Will they aggressively inquire about the plaintiff states’ and cities’ continued use of the same products they condemn Exxon for selling? We can all come up with dozens of similar gaping holes in the claims made by the allegedly injured parties.

One of the fundamental requirements of law is that an injured party has an obligation to mitigate, or attempt to reduce, its damages. How will, for example, the City of Baltimore do that? Quit using gasoline in its police cars and garbage trucks?

The mind reels.

Lee Riffee
April 26, 2023 7:49 am

It’s too bad that some of the judges that hear these cases won’t order the plaintiff to stop using the defendant’s products…..especially as a condition of ruling in favor of the plaintiff! Well, the legal system doesn’t work that way, as if you sue McD’s for coffee being too hot and burning you, you could still eat there.

Perhaps a better way would be to sue these environutter groups to stop them from using oil or products from fossil fuels! And it would be even better if the likes of Michael Mann would be turned away when they pull up to the gas station to get fuel, and the utilities to their homes cut off (unless they are 100% wind and solar 24/7 and 365 a year).

Reply to  Lee Riffee
April 26, 2023 11:02 am

 if you sue McD’s for coffee being too hot and burning you, you could still eat there.

Unless Mcdonalds’ refuses to serve you.

April 26, 2023 7:52 am

One would hope that at some point the fossil fuel industry is either backed into a corner and forced to retaliate or are just fed up with the lawfare and turn the tables on their accusers and take them to court. But as long as they’re making money there’s no reason to rock the boat.

Mike Dombroski
April 26, 2023 7:58 am

The link to the Black Presentation appears to be broken. I take it that someone named Black created this graphic.

Russell Cook
Reply to  Mike Dombroski
April 26, 2023 8:53 am

A.k.a. the “James Black Presentation to Exxon.” As I noted in the 8th paragraph up from the bottom of my “Climate Homicide: Prosecuting Big Oil For Climate Deaths” blog post, it’s one of the mainstays within the 25+ “ExxonKnew”-style CAGW lawsuits. One of the providers of worthless docs to these lawsuits, Kert Davies, has his copy here, and the idiots at Inside Climate News had the identical copy but now it must be seen the via the Internet Archive. Something fishy about that recent disappearance plus the connection to Kert Davies …

John Oliver
April 26, 2023 8:40 am

Still we are stuck with the age old question: What to do about this? How do you stop a mass movement created by a combination of pseudoscience useful idiots and nefarious actors with ulterior motives – and well financed ones too – with multiple “bully pulpits? That is why I am pretty sure “people” are going to have to learn the hard way, -again

Joseph Zorzin
April 26, 2023 9:24 am

“The misguided 2005 SCOTUS 5-4 decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency essentially federalized the issue of regulations related to climate change.”

As I keep claiming- Woke-achusetts is the prime troublemaker. The state now has a vigorous net zero law on the books and it’s pushing this cause ASAP.

Today I see in a local paper that the state now has created a climate “youth movement” as we once saw in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s CCCP:

New climate chief meets with activists


Staff Writer

NORTHAMPTON — A day after announcing the creation of a new state Youth Climate Council during a visit to Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Sunday, the state’s new climate chief met with activists from across western Massachusetts who assembled online Monday night.

Melissa Hoffer used the 90minute session to answer a bevy of questions and talk up

youths’ role in addressing climate change. The state’s first-ever climate chief, a former member of the Environmental Protection Agency appointed on Gov. Maura Healey’s first day in office in January, is tasked with overseeing all state government departments to ensure they meet objectives for sustainability and combating climate change.

Hoffer visited the region last weekend as a guest at the Youth Climate Festival, held Sunday at Arcadia. While there she announced the creation of the Youth Climate Council, a group of soon-tobe- selected high school students who will regularly meet with Hoffer to discuss climate-related issues.

“The perspectives of young people are vital to this work,” Hoffer said in a statement. “These youth are the leaders today, and they will be the leaders of tomorrow. These are the people who will be living with the decisions we make today, and we need them at the table.”

At Monday’s virtual meeting, Ollie Perrault, an Easthampton High School student and member of the group Youth Climate Action Now, introduced Hoffer to the more than 50 people in attendance, saying that the group has been working with the climate chief over the past several months to build an engagement model to get more youth involved with her office.

“We are planning to work with Chief Hoffer to amplify the voices of young people, and climate policy change on a statewide level,” Perrault said. “We know that this generation will go on to push Massachusetts to even greater goals in the future.”

At Monday’s meeting, Hoffer spoke about how the state aims to achieve climate goals on all fronts, including in sectors not generally associated with climate, such as housing.

“We need to decarbonize all of the buildings and we need to be focused on residential, with some rare exceptions,” she said. “We’re going to be focusing first on our efforts when it comes to how we’re financing that, to look at affordable housing and moderate- to low-income housing. We want to make sure that those folks are going to be taken care of.”

Hoffer also said the sustainability goals tied into those regarding racial justice for Black and Hispanic residents and workers, both in the state and across the nation, citing an EPA study done early in the Biden administration.

“If you are Black or African American living

in the United States, you are much more likely to live in an area that’s going to have these impacts associated with temperature-related deaths,” she said. “If you are Hispanic or Latino, because of the type of work that you are typically doing, you’re in the constr uction trades perhaps, or in agriculture, you’re much more likely to be impacted by high heat when you’re working outside.”

She also acknowledged the difficulty of achieving goals related to decarbonization, contrasting it with similar concerns in the 1990s about depletion of the ozone layer.

“Look around the room you’re in — anything you touch, it’s all carbon,” Hoffer said. “There’s embodied carbon emissions in everything and it’s a very difficult problem. It’s a huge shift and it has enormous economic impacts on people, but it’s not just money. These are pocketbook issues that affect how people live, and what they can eat and how they’re going to put their kids through school.”

According to the terms of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the nations of the world have pledged to keep a rise in mean global temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius. Hoffer noted that even if this goal is met, there would still be “profound disruption” in the world’s climate landscape.

“Every tenth of a degree matters tremendously in terms of its humanitarian impact,” she said. “Ollie was talking earlier about what motivates us, what gives us hope. My hope is that all of our efforts together can help us avoid those tenths of degree increases.”

High school students interesting in applying to be a part of the Youth Climate Council can do so at youth-climate-council. Applications are being accepted from high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The deadline to apply is May 19.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@

comment image&action=loadImage&type=Image&pSetup=greenfieldrecorder&issue=20230426&crc=gr_grr_20230426_a8.pdf.0&edition=Greenfield Recorder&paperImage=greenfieldrecorder&mtime=569A397A We need to decarbonize all of the buildings and we need to be focused on residential, with some rare exceptions.”


Massachusetts climate chief

John Oliver
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 26, 2023 10:16 am

Good post Joseph, I rest my case.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Oliver
April 26, 2023 10:50 am

state officials have no dam business meeting with activists of any sort- and they have no business establishing a youth movement to promote that activism- this has got to be legally questionable

then that idiot says “Every tenth of a degree matters tremendously in terms of its humanitarian impact,”- if I ever meet here I’ll tell her that I hope the temperature goes up a few degrees- but, in Woke-achusetts, there is NO counter to this climate craziness- NONE- 100% of politicians and the media sing the party line- I feel like an atheist living in Mecca

April 26, 2023 11:06 am

Who needs a wealth tax when local governments can just sue oil companies instead?

April 27, 2023 12:41 pm

Hillary won, Trump got the job. You think Gerrymandering isn’t a threat?

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