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People of California v. BP P.L.C.

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20036
Nos. 17-06011, -12, (N.D. Cal., 02/27/2018) (Alsup, J.)

A district court held that San Francisco and Oakland, California, may not remove back to state court their climate change public nuisance actions against several oil companies. The defendants—the largest cumulative producers of fossil fuels worldwide—timely invoked federal common law as a grounds for removal to federal court. And although the cities' complaint asserted state public nuisance law claims, their claims—which address the "national and international geophysical phenomenon of global warming"—are necessarily governed by federal common law. The challenges faced by climate change call out for a uniform and comprehensive solution, and a patchwork of 50 different answers to the same fundamental global issue would be unworkable. The court therefore denied the cities' motion to remand the case to state court.