Supreme Court asks Justice Department to rule on climate lawsuit against oil companies

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Justice Department for its opinion on a case involving lawsuits against oil companies for alleged responsibility for climate change.

A climate lawsuit, filed by the city and county of Honolulu in 2020, is one of several such cases seeking compensation from a dozen oil companies for what the plaintiffs claim are damages suffered due to of climate change.

The energy companies charged in the Honolulu lawsuit argue that the federal Clean Air Act preempts state law and they are asking the Supreme Court to clarify whether state law can be used to obtain damages in the face of the global problem of climate change.

“This case presents the Court with its only foreseeable opportunity in the near future to resolve a decisive question that arises in every climate change case: whether federal law precludes state law claims seeking relief for harms allegedly caused by the effects of interstate conflicts and international greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate,” the companies said in their petition.

In 2022, the Supreme Court asked the Justice Department’s position on whether the cases should be heard in state or federal court, and the department supported the plaintiffs’ position that the cases should be heard in state or federal court. heard in state courts.

Policy reports that the DOJ’s response likely won’t arrive until the end of the year, meaning a high court ruling likely won’t come until 2025.