States, towns, and cities are litigating against fossil fuel companies for knowingly accelerating global warming. Kids are litigating against the federal government for endangering their futures. Investors are litigating against corporations for putting the value of their stock in jeopardy. Employees are suing corporations for deceiving them about climate change. Climate protesters are suing to preserve their rights to civil disobedience.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a social justice issue, too. It is important to recognize that the people most affected by climate change are often those who have contributed least to its progression. People are recognizing that environmental mismanagement and obstruction of climate action are an infringement on their rights.



NRDC’s Litigation Timeline

For 50 years, NRDC has been suing polluters in defense of our health and environment—no matter what industry or political stripe those polluters represent. And sometimes we sue the president. Since the Trump administration assumed office…

The UCS Science Hub for Climate Litigation

Resources and Opportunities for Experts


Science is under siege. Anti-science groups and individuals seek to delegitimize, interfere with, and undermine facts and evidence that threaten their financial interests and ideological beliefs. Aggressive legal action, harassment, and even death threats are…

U.S. Climate Change Litigation

Cases in the U.S. database are organized by type of claim and may be filtered by the principal laws they address, their filing years, and their jurisdictions. The database is also searchable by keyword. In many cases, the database…

9 major climate change cases that could shape the fight to save the planet

Cases brought by an array of plaintiffs—among them children, state and local governments, farmers and environmental associations—target the Trump administration, fossil fuel giants and other alleged perpetrators of climate damage. Check out these major climate…

12 Legal Tools to Push Climate Preparedness

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. Here are 12 ways the law can help society cope with these impacts. ...

Lawyers are unleashing a flurry of lawsuits to step up the fight against climate change

The issue of climate change, which has been slowly winding its way through the legal system for the past two decades, recently took a high-profile detour. Traditionally relegated to the statutory realm of environmental and…

League of Conservation Voters v. Trump

Challenge to executive order reversing President Obama’s withdrawal of lands in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from future oil and gas leasing.


Oil companies defeat New York City appeal over global warming

By Jonathan Stempel and Sebastien Malo   04/01/21  
A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected New York City’s effort to hold five major oil companies liable to help pay the costs of addressing harm caused by global warming.

Court upholds dismissal of New York City lawsuit against oil companies

By Zack Budryk   04/01/21  
A U.S. circuit court on Thursday upheld a district court's decision to dismiss a New York City lawsuit seeking damages for climate change from five multinational oil firms. In its decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit…

21 states sue Biden for revoking Keystone XL permit

By Rachel Frazin   03/17/21  
A coalition of states with Republican attorneys general sued President Biden on Wednesday over his decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The lawsuit from 21 states, led by Texas and…

Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

By John Schwartz   10/13/20  
The first two years of the Trump administration had a 70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act, the…

Climate Litigation Spreads across the United States

By Cathy Mulvey   10/06/20  
With hurricanes in the Gulf South and wildfires in the West, the intensifying impacts of climate change have been inescapable as summer turns to fall. Summer 2020 also brought a wave of new climate lawsuits…

Supreme Court Will Hear Fossil Fuel’s Appeal of Baltimore’s Climate Lawsuit

By Dana Drugmand   10/02/20  
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to intervene in a climate liability lawsuit brought against 26 fossil fuel companies by Baltimore, which seeks to hold them responsible for the substantial costs of grappling with the…

Indiana Groups Sue EPA For Not Regulating Certain Steel Mill Pollutants

By Rebecca Thiele   09/21/20  
The LaPorte County branch of the NAACP, the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Clean Air Council, and the Sierra Club are all petitioners in the suit.

Mounting climate cases expand Big Oil’s legal battlefield

By Jennifer Hijazi   09/16/20  
Climate lawsuits against the oil industry are popping up in courts across the country, and experts see this month's succession of new filings from state and local officials as a sign of more to come.

Greens sue to stop Trump methane rule

By Niina H. Farah   09/16/20  
A coalition of 10 conservation groups is taking the unusual step of asking a federal court to immediately throw out EPA's rollback of 2016 regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

Connecticut sues ExxonMobil over climate change, accusing energy giant of misrepresenting threats to the environment

By Stephen Singer   09/14/20  
Connecticut sued ExxonMobil Corp. Monday, accusing the fossil fuel giant of misleading investors and the public about its contribution to climate change, costing the state precious time to limit damage to the environment.

Trump NEPA rules take effect after court denies freeze

By Niina H. Farah   09/14/20  
The White House Council on Environmental Quality's implementing rules for a bedrock environmental law are going into effect as planned today, after opponents of the new regulations failed to convince a federal judge to block…

Delaware Just Sued 30 Fossil Fuel Companies and the American Petroleum Institute Over Climate ‘Denial and Disinformation’

By Dana Drugmand   09/10/20  
Delaware, the home state of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, announced on Thursday, September 10 that it is taking dozens of major oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil to court over the…

Charleston sues 24 fossil fuel companies, seeks money for climate change damages

By Emily Bohatch   09/09/20  
Charleston officials filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 24 fossil fuel companies, claiming that because they contributed to climate change — and misled the public about the danger its products posed to the environment —they should…

Hoboken N.J. joins other cities suing Big Oil over climate change

By Sebastien Malo   09/02/20  
The city of Hoboken in New Jersey sued five major oil companies and the oil and gas industry’s main trade association on Wednesday over allegations of knowingly contributing to the damaging effects of climate change,…

Oregon joins multi-state lawsuit against Trump administration changes to NEPA

By Monica Samayoa   08/29/20  
Oregon has joined a multi-state federal lawsuit against the Trump Administration, over changes to a bedrock environmental law — rule revisions that eliminate environmental review and reduce public input for projects.

Lawsuit Looms Over Carbon Regs

By Sander Gusinow   08/27/20  
On March 10th, surrounded by children, climate-change activists and renewable energy advocates, Gov. Brown made good on her pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if the Legislature failed to do so.

Judge rejects Trump administration challenge to California cap-and-trade program

By Rachel Frazin   07/21/20  
A federal judge on Friday upheld a California program that caps carbon emissions from the transportation sector after the Trump administration sued the state over it.

DC Circuit upholds landmark FERC storage order, rejecting claims it violates state authority

By Catherine Morehouse   07/13/20  
A three-judge panel of the court said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 2018 Order 841, intended to expand the ability of storage to participate in wholesale power markets, does not surpass the commission's jurisdiction with its…

This week’s pipeline wins were decades in the making

By Heather Hansman   07/10/20  
Over a span of two days earlier this week, there were three big wins for environmental groups fighting controversial natural gas pipeline projects. On Sunday, Dominion Energy canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), citing delays and rising costs. And…

Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules

By Jacey Fortin and Lisa Friedman   07/06/20  
The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5,…

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (“ACP”) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.

NRDC Sues FERC Over Orders that Threaten NY Clean Energy

By Christopher Casey   06/30/20  
NRDC is suing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court to overturn two FERC orders that thwart New York’s development of clean energy: an order targeting storage and an order targeting demand response resources.

Minnesota Sues ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Top Oil and Gas Trade Association for Climate-Related Consumer Fraud

By Elliott Negin   06/24/20  
On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading US oil and gas industry trade association.

PG&E’s Plan to Resolve Bankruptcy Wins Court Approval

By Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis   06/19/20  
A federal judge decided Saturday that the California utility can put itself back together in time to take part in a crucial wildfire liability fund.

Commentary: California sues, again, to protect the planet from the Trump administration

By Kerry Cavanaugh   05/27/20  
California and 22 other states are taking the Trump administration to court - again - in an attempt to block President Donald Trump's foolishly destructive effort to weaken fuel economy standards.

PG&E Says Wildfire Victims Back Settlement in Bankruptcy

By Ivan Penn   05/18/20  
Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday that thousands of homeowners and businesses had overwhelmingly approved a $13.5 billion settlement for wildfires caused by the utility’s equipment, an important victory in its effort to resolve its…

Trump Just Lost the ‘Clean Water Case of the Century’

By Olivia Rosane   04/24/20  
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration Thursday in a case Earthjustice called "the clean water case of the century." The case concerned a...

US judge cancels permit for Keystone XL pipeline from Canada

By Matthew Brown   04/16/20  
A U.S. judge canceled a key permit Wednesday for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that’s expected to stretch from Canada to Nebraska, another setback for the disputed project that got underway less than two weeks…

Court says EPA erred in blocking agency grantees from serving on its boards

By Rebecca Beitsch   04/15/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot bar recipients of its own grants from serving on agency boards, a New York district court ruled Wednesday. The court is the latest to side with scientists who were…

Honolulu Sues Petroleum Companies For Climate Change Damages to City

By David Hasemyer   03/10/20  
The city’s lawsuit cites the industry’s concealing of science that predicted catastrophic consequences for the continued burning of fossil fuels.

Landmark Win for 5 Extinction Rebellion Activists Who Used Necessity Defense

By Common Dreams   03/02/20  
By Jake JohnsonEnvironmentalists celebrated a landmark victory in the "fight for a habitable future" after a Portland, Oregon jury on Thursday refused to convict five Extinction...

Judge voids nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases, saying Trump policy undercut public input

By Juliet Eilperin and Darryl Fears   02/29/20  
A federal judge in Idaho has voided nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases on federal lands in the West, saying that a Trump administration policy that limited public input on those leases…

Coke and Pepsi sued for creating a plastic pollution ‘nuisance’

By Erin McCormick   02/27/20  
Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé and other large companies are being sued by a California environmental group for creating a plastic pollution “nuisance” and misleading consumers about the recyclability of plastic.

EDF Asks D.C. Circuit to Uphold FERC Energy Storage Order

By Sharyn Stein   02/10/20  
EDF is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to uphold an order that permits energy storage to compete fairly in wholesale power markets.

DOJ drops antitrust probe into automakers that want cleaner cars

By Sean O'Kane   02/07/20  
The Department of Justice has closed an antitrust investigation into Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW over a vehicle emissions deal with California that reportedly “enraged” President Trump, The New York Times reports. The DOJ ultimately…

Justice Department Drops Antitrust Probe Against Automakers That Sided With California on Emissions

By Coral Davenport   02/07/20  
The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four automakers that had sided with California in its dispute with the Trump administration over reducing climate-warming vehicle pollution, deciding that the companies had violated no…

How the lawyer who beat Chevron lost everything

Steven Donziger won a multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. The company sued him in New York, and now he’s under house arrest....

Tenth Circuit Court Strikes Down EPA Small Refinery Exemptions

In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit late…

First Solar Settles Shareholder Suit for $350M

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   01/06/20  
First Solar will pay out $350 million in claims for a class action lawsuit filed in 2012, according to a Monday announcement from the Arizona-based solar panel manufacturer.

2020: A Year of Pipeline Court Fights, with One Lawsuit Headed to the Supreme Court

By Phil McKenna   01/03/20  
After years of mounting opposition to the increasing build-out of oil and gas infrastructure, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that pipeline opponents get their day in court.

Judge allows California’s shift to energy saving light bulbs

By Don Thompson   01/01/20  
A federal judge on Tuesday allowed California’s updated light bulb efficiency standards to take effect with the new year. U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association…

Energy Cases To Watch In 2020

Climate change will take center stage in energy-related courtroom battles in 2020, with fossil fuel companies and the federal government in the hot seat for their alleged roles in exacerbating climate change and for the…

2019: The Year Climate Litigation Hit High Gear

By Karen Savage   12/30/19  
One of the busiest years yet for climate litigation, 2019 was highlighted by favorable decisions handed down by some of the world’s highest courts.

Massachusetts’ Climate Suit Vs. Exxon Belongs in State Court, AG Argues

By Karen Savage   12/26/19  
Massachusetts’ climate fraud case against Exxon belongs in state court because it alleges only violations of Massachusetts consumer protection law, according to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The AG made its latest arguments to keep…

Fossil Fuel Companies Begin to Acknowledge Climate Litigation Threatens Their Bottom Line

By Dana Drugmand   12/23/19  
Fossil fuel companies facing climate-related litigation are starting to acknowledge in their financial disclosure forms that these legal challenges could harm their business.

It May Have Just Gotten A Lot Easier To Sue Exxon And Shell For Climate Change Devastation

A new investigation provides the most “robust” evidence yet connecting fossil fuel companies to climate-related human rights violations, legal experts say. ...

Judge clears Exxon in investor fraud case over climate risk disclosure

The judge excoriated the New York AG, but also said: 'nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve Exxon from responsibility for contributing to climate change.'

The Clean Water Case of the Century

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui. The fate of the nation’s clean water hangs in the balance.

Can climate ‘test cases’ move forward? It’s up to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is set to decide soon whether to greenlight state-court proceedings for several cases in which state and local government officials seek to hold oil companies accountable for their role in climate change....

Here’s why lawyers suing oil companies are following the opioid cases

They think there could be a precedent for climate lawsuits.