Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Jeremy Hessler


In the latter half of 2009, the Second Circuit in Connecticut v. American Electric Power Co. and the Fifth Circuit in Comer v. Murphy Oil USA provided a strong signal to the political branches that the courts could begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions under common law tort actions. This Note focuses upon recent developments in climate change litigation by closely examining the various issues that arise in these suits, as well as of some of the issues that may arise if the trial courts reach the merits of these cases. This examines the constitutionality of climate change suits under the common law, as well the consequences of allowing these suits to proceed and the general issues trial courts may face. Although many difficulties arise as a result of climate change litigation suits, the effects of these suits could be a step forward in our nation's policy of regulating pollutants that cause climate change.