Greenhouse Gas Litigation

Emerging Trends and Strategies in a Dynamic Legal Landscape

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, March 3, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will examine the legal trends and theories emerging in climate change litigation. The panel will offer their insights and perspectives for counsel who defend and prosecute claims on GHG emission — as well as practical and proactive measures for handling potential GHG claims.


Because the global warming debate is triggering litigation by states, interest groups and private litigants seeking remedies for past or future injuries allegedly caused or likely to be caused by global warming, state governments and environmental groups are seeking relief in court.

The legal theories pursued in these lawsuits are based on a variety of federal and state laws and regulations, including the Clean Air Act, federal wildlife protection laws and energy statutes, common law tort, and state emission regulations and utility laws. Which theory or theories will hold up?

Counsel advising businesses with potential GHG emission issues must understand the scope of the wide-ranging legal theories involved and how the courts are dealing with suits alleging global warming or climate change damages.

Listen as our authoritative panel of counsel, who advise and defend companies on global warming issues, offers their perspectives on defending and prosecuting claims involving GHG emissions, as well as best practices and proactive measures for dealing with GHG claims before litigation.



  1. Trends in litigation/ Introduction/ Roadmap
    1. Who is suing
    2. What is being challenged and under what laws
    3. Is litigation the appropriate vehicle to address climate change?
  2. Court treatment
    1. Clean Air Act cases
    2. Federal preemption
    3. Coal plant litigation
    4. Tort suits
    5. NEPA cases
    6. Endangered Species Act cases
    7. Securities disclosure
  3. Issues/concerns and strategies for prosecuting and defending claims
    1. Subject matter jurisdiction
    2. Standing
    3. Demonstrating harm/injury
    4. Causation
    5. Political question doctrine


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What kinds of claimants and litigants are asserting GHG damages?
  • What legal theories and specific laws form the basis for current global warming lawsuits?
  • How are different jurisdictions responding to climate change lawsuit claims?
  • What are the key challenges facing plaintiffs and defendants involved in litigation based on climate change theories?
  • How can companies best position themselves to avoid claims involving GHG emissions in the current legal environment?


Professor Michael B. Gerrard
Professor Michael B. Gerrard

Director, Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School

He joined the Columbia law faculty in January and became Senior Counsel to Arnold & Porter, where he practiced...  |  Read More

Christina M. Carroll
Christina M. Carroll

McKenna Long & Aldridge

She focuses on complex litigation, including toxic tort and environmental litigation. She handles claims arising out of...  |  Read More

Paul E. Gutermann
Paul E. Gutermann

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

He litigates cutting-edge issues arising under all the major statutes and negotiates environmental issues in corporate...  |  Read More

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