Climate Change Litigation
Climate change has quickly become one of America's most emotionally charged political issues. Regardless of where you may fall on the global warming spectrum from true believer to ardent skeptic, one issue that most business leaders can agree on is the treat posed by climate change lawsuits.
Energy, automotive, and all sorts of manufacturing companies may soon face a wave of class action lawsuits siting nuisance and damages for their contribution to global warming. Think tobacco on a much bigger scale.
The American Justice Partnership recently presented a seminar on this topic titled: "New Threat to Business: Class Action Global Warming Litigation.” The AJP has made video of this seminar available on-line. Speakers include Shannon Goessling, Director of Southeastern Legal Foundation and Dr. John Christy professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Goessling underscores the potential for global warming litigation in the near future and refers to a continuing education program of the American Bar Association that she describes as a “litigation primer in the area of global warming. She then turns the podium over to Alabama State Climatologist John Christy whose presentation refutes the claim that humans have impacted global temperature.
Click HERE to watch the video.
Bad Air Days, Perhaps Not So Bad
How many days during the summer do you open the paper to find warning about your region's air quality? Scanning today's headlines I saw ozone and air pollution alerts posted for Raleigh, Richmond and Pittsburgh.
While these reports are certainly important information for people who need to take precautions, what effect do they have on the image (or self-image) of your city? The average citizen probably doesn't know specifics about fine particulate matter or EPA attainment, however, they will likely draw conclusions about how dirty their city is from the frequency of air quality warnings in the daily paper. Thousands of individual conclusions could lead to an image problem for a city in which business and government leaders are cooperating successfully to improve air quality. That is why I was so heartened by a short article I read in last Friday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The story explains in simple English that while the region is on pace to top last year's number of bad air days, the actual air quality may have improved because federal standards have tightened. If your city is facing an air pollution image problem that undercuts the efforts made to improve, articles like this could help sway public perception.