Wednesday, December 2, 2009

U.S. court allows global warming suit against energy companies to proceed

Residents and owners of land along the Mississippi Gulf Coast were allowed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to bring a class action suit against energy, fossil fuels, and chemical companies for their alleged contributions to global warming, reversing a decision by a lower court.
The suit alleged that the companies created a public nuisance by emitting greenhouse gases, which contributed to global warming and allegedly made Hurricane Katrina more damaging than it would have been otherwise, destroying their private property in addition to causing damage to public property.
The landowners also filed trespass claims asserting that the companies’ greenhouse gas emissions caused saltwater, debris, and various hazardous substances to enter and damage their property.
Finally, negligence claims asserted that the defendants had a duty to conduct their businesses in a way to avoid unreasonably damaging the environment, public health, public and private property, and that the defendants breached this duty.

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