ExxonMobil, Shell Oil and other companies are facing a flood of litigation over claims their emission of greenhouse gases have contributed to global warming.
The lawsuit brought by Hurricane Katrina victims has heated up the idea that climate change litigation is the new asbestos.
In the Wall Street Journal, a good amount of ink has been spilled exploring the idea. An unrelated but similar law suit in Alaska added to the argument.
According to a law blog on the Wall Street Journal website, it is reported that NYT's John Schwartz said an Eskimo village of 400, which sits on an island north of the Arctic Circle, has sued two dozen companies of helping to cause climate change that it says is destroying the island.
And similar cases are pushing ahead across the United States, so Schwartz questions whether these cases stand a chance. He reported that even if the various cases fall apart, they may have an impact, and drive companies to the negotiating table.
The cases are mostly being brought by under the common-law doctrine of nuisance. While this has traditionally not gained traction, some now think the suits will take on.
In a report issued last year, the blog reports, insurance giant Swiss Re compared the suits to those that led dozens of companies in asbestos industries to file for bankruptcy. It predicted that "climate change-related liability will develop more quickly than asbestos-related claims".