Climate Litigation Watch Oct. 10, 2019
Newly revealed emails, wrongly hidden from public by OAG, further suggest origin of renewed “Attribution” push
CLW readers are aware of the new, plaintiffs’ bar-driven push to claim an ability to attribute climate change — all the way down to responsibility for individual storms, weather apparently is climate when it’s the right kind of weather — just as the first AG #ExxonKnew trial approaches, later this month.
Obviously, that case has become an accounting dispute, and has little to nothing to do with climate. It does however seem that certain parties would like to orchestrate some climate background music to give a different sense and, of course, when actual climate trials do occur plaintiffs’ lawyers hope to point juries to specific storms, that they may have personally experienced, as less abstract and so a necessary part of the lawyers’ appeals to emotion.
CLW readers may also recall this August post, “#ExxonKnew — Who Will Guard the Guardians? Washington State AG Improperly Hides Info re Climate Litigation Scheming”.
That item began:
A recent (for lack of a better word) “production” from the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson added another veil of secrecy cast by AGs over their assistance to and escalation of the climate litigation industry. And, in Washington State’s case, its apparently long-running plans.
It also tells the public there’s a little more ankle to be shown about that infamous March 2016 press March 29, 2016 briefing of state attorneys general, Al Gore, an activist and the ever present tort bar.
Consider that particular veil of secrecy pierced.
Newly obtained, unredacted versions of the same emails confirm not only the Washington State Attorney General improperly hid non-privileged emails by redacting their revealing content, in full.
First, see how WA OAG improperly hid discussion among various offices (including Gov. Inslee’s policy people) about the infamous “whatever means necessary” press conference with Al Gore:
More important, in a major revelation these emails also show that that office had considered climate nuisance litigation against energy companies in the Fall of 2015 — when New York’s Eric Schneiderman made public his own pursuit which, litigation records later showed, the Rockefeller Family Fund had joined the plaintiffs’ bar in crafting.
We now know that WA OAG declined because it deemed the claims of ‘attribution’ not credible for such a pursuit.
The record shows these AG offices are in close contact with the activists and lawyers behind the climate nuisance campaigns, which AGs are now helping out with (often Bloomberg-funded) amicus briefs and investigations of the same parties. As was requested of them as far back as 2012.
In fact, we know that WA OAG and its climate-activist Doppelgängers received a renewed pitch to launch investigations to help the activists out not long before this email thread. And that they immediately leapt to action. More on that soon.
But we also have recently learned what happened next: the lawyers got the activists working on a more convincing stab at claiming attribution. We now know that lead attorney Vic Sher requested the newly released attribution paper with a 1965 baseline, the paper that is so energizing some in the media to write up stories furthering its narrative.
So, not only were state attorney general investigations and litigation launched at the request of the plaintiffs bar, but the claimed scientific justification, ordered up by the admission of the very lawyer leading the charge, came after a particular “sympathetic attorney general” office decided it would need more if it was to help the plaintiffs’ bar out, as asked.
Consider this during the media mania as the first AG #ExxonKnew trial kicks off the week of October 21 in New York — which has devolved into an accounting dispute, despite the originators’ grand ambitions, as it was also ordered up by the climate tort bar (see also here, and here). Although not actually at issue in the upcoming case, media activism suggests someone or someones thought it would be helpful to whip up some climate fear in the run-up thereto.