University of Maine Law School professor Anthony Moffa’s heart is in the right place in urging action on climate change (Maine Voices, July 27), but suing manufacturers won’t help and is counterproductive. What we need for this shared challenge is an all-in, inclusive approach.

Trying to blame climate change on energy companies started 20 years ago. In 2011, the Supreme Court threw out such a suit by Vermont, Connecticut and other states. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in the opinion, courts are not the place to set national energy policy.

Climate change is a byproduct of modern life. The challenge is figuring out how to provide us with energy we need to heat our homes, drive our cars and power our workplaces without impacting the climate. Innovation in sourcing and using energy is the only solution.

Litigation would undermine these efforts, tying the hands of national policymakers. Attorneys in this litigation have acknowledged their true goal is to use courts to impose a penalty on energy use regardless of the cost to families and businesses. That’s the last thing Maine needs.

That’s why the Maine State Chamber of Commerce said climate issues are “best left to our legislative and executive branches” and a nationwide poll on behalf of the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project found that only 2 percent of voters think suing manufacturers is the best way to pay for climate damages.

We don’t have time to waste on failed strategies that will hurt, not help. Maine should work with manufacturers to encourage low-carbon innovations that can help solve this global imperative.

Phil Goldberg
special counsel, Manufacturers’ Accountability Project;
office managing partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Washington, D.C.

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