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City of New York v. BP P.L.C.

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20128
Nos. 18 Civ. 182 (JFK), (S.D.N.Y., 07/19/2018) (Keenan, J.)

A district court granted oil companies' motion to dismiss New York City's case seeking damages for global warming-related injuries caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from combustion of the companies' fossil fuels. The companies argued that the city's claims should be dismissed because they arise under federal common law, are displaced by the CAA, and interfere with separation of powers and foreign policy. The court agreed, concluding that the city's claims are governed by federal common law because they are based on the transboundary emission of greenhouse gases, they are displaced by the CAA because the Act has spoken directly to the question of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and they present political questions that do not fall within the purview of the courts. Global warming requires a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel use against the gravity of impending harms, and thus must be addressed by the two other branches of government. The court therefore granted the companies' motion to dismiss.