On October 14, 2022, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other major energy companies petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to send a climate change lawsuit back to state court (the Petition). In the underlying lawsuit, the City of Baltimore is seeking climate-change-related infrastructure damages for the defendants’ alleged deception of consumers and the public about climate change. The defendants previously removed the case to federal court, but the District Court for the District of Maryland remanded the case to state court—a decision the Fourth Circuit later upheld.
The Petition currently before the Supreme Court poses two questions: (1) whether federal common law necessarily and exclusively governs claims seeking redress for injuries allegedly caused by the effect of interstate greenhouse-gas emissions on the global climate and (2) whether a federal district court has jurisdiction over claims necessarily and exclusively governed by federal common law but labeled as arising under state law. In the Petition, the defendants argue that “federal law must govern controversies over interstate pollution, because those controversies touch basic interests of federalism and implicate the overriding federal interest in the need for a uniform rule of decision.” The Petition notes that the courts of appeals have issued differing opinions on whether federal common law governs climate change claims and urges the Supreme Court to review these questions to resolve the conflict among the federal courts.
The case is BP PLC et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, case number 22-361, in the U.S. Supreme Court.