Kathy Mulvey, campaign director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said state and local governments should have the right to seek additional damages.
“That half a trillion the industry would have to cough up is real money, but this fund must be a floor, not a ceiling, for holding fossil fuel companies accountable,” Mulvey said.
Climate advocates are glad to see progress regardless of whether it comes from Congress, ESG-focused investors, or the court system.
Richard Wiles is the executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports local municipalities and state attorneys general in lawsuits against polluters.
“There is definitely a trend toward accountability,” Wiles said. Whether it’s shareholder activists pressuring boardrooms, local governments suing polluters, or lawmakers proposing legislation “everyone is coalescing around the same facts, and there is a growing call for polluters who caused the problem to pay for the solution.”
Wiles compared the Democrats’ proposal to litigation in that it focused on allocation of financial responsibility for past harm. On the other hand, the ESG movement is forward-looking, insisting that companies account for and take steps to mitigate long-term climate risks.
Even though lawmakers, investors and litigants might be leaning on various approaches to reduce pollution and mitigate climate change, there is a shared desire to impose responsibility, Wiles said.
Originally Appeared Here