U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

NY Climate Change Case Dismissed, to Be Appealed

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will soon have a rather hot case on their docket as the recently dismissed New York City climate change lawsuit will be appealed.

Though the case was thrown out by the district court, climate change advocates may take some solace in Judge John Keenan's direct acknowledgement of climate change, as he stated, in dicta that "climate change is a fact of life." He also mentioned that the President pulled out of the Paris Accord and that climate change is only expected to get worse. But, despite the judge believing in climate science, the case was still dismissed as he explained the court just couldn't do what NYC was asking.

Hot Off the Bench

The decision explains that the issue of climate change and international emissions and pollution is not one for the courts, but rather for the President and Congress.

Relying on the recent Supreme Court precedent in Jesner v. Arab Bank, the court steps away from this case, explaining that matters of foreign policy are better left to the other branches of government.

Judge Keenan's rationale is easily seen in the section Courthouse News Service aptly quoted:

However, the immense and complicated problem of global warming requires a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel use with the gravity of the impending harms. To litigate such an action for injuries from foreign greenhouse gas emissions in federal court would severely infringe upon the foreign-policy decisions that are squarely within the purview of the political branches of the U.S. government.

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