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Climate Change Litigation: Recent Developments, Novel Theories and Emerging Trends

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide counsel on recent developments in climate change litigation. The panel will discuss recent decisions and litigators’ novel theories in the cases. The panel will also offer their perspectives on the defenses being presented by the defendants against climate change claims.


In recent years, there has been a surge of climate change- related litigation, fueled in part by impact rising costs of climate change adaptation and impact mitigation, and recent changes in Federal climate change policy. Further, an increase in the laws around the world addressing climate change imposes new requirements for companies.

Last year, San Mateo County, Marin County and the City of Imperial Beach filed suit in California state court against over 35 defendants in the fossil fuel energy industry, seeking damages allegedly related to climate change. Just a few months later, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, CA filed a similar complaint against the five highest-volume fossil-fuel producers to pay for infrastructure costs allegedly caused by climate change. After both cases were removed to federal court, the District Court for the Northern District issued conflicting opinions concerning a potential remand. District Court Judge Chhabria remanded the San Mateo case to state court, citing Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil as authority for precluding nuisance claims brought under federal common law. But District Court Judge Alsup declined to remand the San Francisco/Oakland case, holding that the cities’ nuisance claims were not precluded by the Clean Air Act because the plaintiffs sued the producers rather than emitters of greenhouse gases. As a result, the court opened a potential new avenue for climate change litigation.

Citizens and other organizations are suing to hold companies and the government accountable for climate-related commitments. As the battle continues in the courts, counsel must understand how the courts are treating climate change cases as well as the novel theories and emerging trends arising in climate change litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses recent developments in climate change litigation. The panel will examine the implications of recent decisions and the parties’ novel theories. The panel will also discuss considerations for companies that may face these claims and offer best practices for defending against climate change lawsuits.



  1. Current developments in climate change litigation
  2. Novel theories in recent climate change cases
  3. Considerations for companies that may face these claims
  4. Best practices for defending against climate change litigation


The panel will review these and other notable issues:

  • What is the status of recent litigation by cities against fossil fuel producers?
  • How do current federal court rulings impact climate change cases?
  • What strategies can companies use to defend against climate change litigation?


McDonough, Michael
Michael S. McDonough


Mr. McDonough focuses on defending enforcement actions, bringing regulatory challenges, and litigating with regulatory...  |  Read More

Wedeking, Jim
Jim Wedeking

Sidley Austin

Mr. Wedeking is an environmental litigator, representing large companies in the defense of criminal and civil...  |  Read More

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