In the last few years, coastal municipalities and communities throughout the United States have filed several near-identical state common law nuisance claims against major oil companies for contributing to climate change through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While the claims raise numerous interesting and difficult questions, one major issue is whether such state common law claims belong in federal or state court.
Climate change, especially its symptom of sea level rise, will “unsettle expectations” and present unique challenges to takings jurisprudence. Historically, most takings issues focused on situations with clear instances of causation. For example, requiring a physical intrusion upon or forbidding development on private property clearly hinders a landowners’ ability to use their property, make a profit, or recover an investment.
Climate litigation is becoming increasingly common in courts around the country, as affected parties turn to the judicial branch following more than a decade of congressional silence. With litigants taking their actions to court, judges have been forced to grapple with climate science as well as the fundamental legal issues implicated by climate litigation.
Scholars have criticized the issuance of nationwide injunctions by district courts, arguing that they are an inappropriate and excessive use of power. Others have defended nationwide injunctions, asserting that they are necessary to ensure complete relief for plaintiffs.