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January 10, 2024

Editor’s note: US climate litigation and policy in an election year

US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court has rejected a request to move a lawsuit claiming the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility in climate change from a Minnesota court to a federal court (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter

Dear reader,

Climate litigation is an area that has kept on catching our attention in 2023, with growing numbers of lawsuits and novel arguments brought to the courts. Legal challenges are likely to keep us busy this year too. 

Indeed, only a few days into 2024, the US Supreme Court rejected a request by ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute to move a lawsuit claiming the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility in climate change from a Minnesota court, where it was originally filed, to a federal court, which they preferred.

The 2020 lawsuit claims that oil and gas companies had known about the effects of their activities on the climate since the 1970s and 1980s but sought to undermine scientific evidence and mislead the public.

For anyone interested in pouring over the copious documents related to the case, as well as others in the US and elsewhere, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has a useful resource, here.

Another aspect of this story that is worth noting is that supreme court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was controversially appointed in 2018 by then president Donald Trump, said he would have heard the fossil fuel companies’ appeal. He’ll also apparently “step up” to oppose legal challenges to a Trump 2024 presidential run.

This is going to be an interesting and potentially consequential year for both climate litigation and climate politics in the US, with the previous and current White House residents, both seeking Americans’ votes, having explosively opposing views on the green transition. Stay tuned for our upcoming series of articles on ESG policy, rules and investment in the US.

Meanwhile, you may be interested to see the effects that sustainable fund labelling rules may have in the UK. Data provider Morningstar has released some projections on how the Financial Conduct Authority’s Sustainability Disclosure Requirements would shape asset managers’ choices. Alex has the details, including some useful charts.

Florence also looks at the UK and reports on an analysis of the government’s claim that the new North Sea oil licences will support the country’s fuel security, which an environmental non-profit finds groundless

Lastly, think-tank E3G’s Alex Scott explains how Brazil can push climate finance up the Brics+ agenda.

Until tomorrow,


Silvia Pavoni is the editor of Sustainable Views 

This article was amended after publication to correct a sentence indicating that Brett Kavanaugh said he’ll “step up” in support of a Donald Trump presidential run, which is something that Trump’s lawyers said instead.

A service from the Financial Times