(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected New York City's efforts to hold five major oil companies responsible for covering the costs of global warming.
Decides in favor of BP PLC, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and the Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the other U.S. appeals board in Manhattan, said greenhouse gas emissions regulation should be dealt with under federal law and international treaties.
It rejected the city's efforts to sue under state nuisance law for damages caused by companies' "admittedly legal" production and sale of fossil fuels, saying the city's federal general legal requirements were shifted by the Federal Clean Air Act.
"Global warming is a unique international problem of national interest," wrote District Judge Richard Sullivan to a panel of three judges. "It is therefore not appropriate for the application of state law."
Judge Sullivan added that although the Clean Air Act did not address emissions from outside the country, it was about foreign policy issues and the risk of courts "stepping on the toes of the political branches" hindered the city's mood.
Nick Paolucci , a spokesman for the city's law department, said the city was disappointed that it could not hold the oil companies "responsible for the environmental damage they knew their products would cause. "
The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Thursday's decision upheld a July 201
New York City's trial was an early attempt by U.S. states and municipalities to address
Since Keenan's decision, some have appealed to state courts to pursue their cases.
The Court of Appeal's decision "confirms the wisdom of bringing state lawsuits to state courts that are unlikely to will be controlled by federal law, "said Robert Percival, a law professor at the University of Maryland.
In January, two New York City public pension funds voted to divest $ 4 billion in fossil fuel investments.
The case is City of New York v Chevron Corp et al.
Second U.S. District Court.