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How climate conference pledges don’t mean ‘concrete results’

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[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Energy.]

By Jeffrey Kupfer
Real Clear Energy

As COP26 concluded last week in Glasgow, the verdict is still out as to whether the two-week climate summit will ultimately be considered a success.  On the one hand, there were plenty of pledges, high level political, corporate, and celebrity attendees, and media attention. On the other hand, none of that activity automatically translates into concrete results. The real measure of success will be what happens next. Will countries implement their pledges? Will there be transparency and accurate reporting? Will there be technological breakthroughs to accelerate the transformation to a lower carbon future?

Looking ahead is what we should all be doing. And that is why backward looking lawsuits that seek to pin the blame for climate change on energy companies are especially counterproductive.

But that has not stopped many states and municipalities from filing these types of claims. Some of them have been summarily tossed out. In April, for instance, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found no merit in New York City’s complaint, writing that “global warming is a uniquely international concern that touches upon issues of federalism and foreign policy.” The court then added, “the Clean Air Act grants the Environmental Protection Agency – not federal courts – the authority to regulate domestic greenhouse gas emissions.”

But many other cases remain.

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