After the 1998 tobacco deal, many wondered where the next battleground for the shakedown lawyers would be. Few wonder now. The legal war over climate change is heating up -- and it'll be costly. . . And the media are finally picking up on this.(via Maggie's Farm)
"Climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake," AFP reported Sunday.
Though not yet widespread, climate-related lawsuits have "ballooned" in the last three years, AFP said. Deutsche Bank says filings in the U.S. alone went from 48 in 2009 to 132 last year. "Entrepreneurial lawyers" are stalking prospective defendants, while businesses and insurers are trying to find ways to protect themselves.
While none of the lawsuits has been successful, the sheer volume of future suits is expected to generate what Rutgers law professor Howard Latin predicted in 2007 would be "one of the biggest legal practices in the next 20 years."
The typical defendants are energy-related companies and those that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, or whose products generate CO2, which is supposedly causing the planet to heat.
We've found no reliable estimates as to how much global warming litigation will cost. But this we do know: It will be expensive, and painfully so.
AFP reports that "compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money."
The potential defendants in global warming litigation have a far bigger financial footprint than the handful of giant tobacco companies who were victimized by the settlement.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
From a January 24th editorial in Investor's Business Daily: