Environmental and Natural Resources litigation and consulting often involve multiple concurrent issues, each with narrow and particular complications, all of them interacting in complex ways. Multiple experts are generally necessary as, given the sophistication of the subject matter, professionals often specialize.
To add to the complexity of this rapidly evolving and frequently gray area of the law is the pressing challenge of climate change. Frustrated by a lack of progress on climate change-related regulation, a number of American cities, municipalities, and groups of concerned citizens are filing lawsuits against fossil fuel companies and others over the industry’s role in global warming. These lawsuits seek compensation for rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and unforeseen disasters they claim are caused by carbon emissions and climate change. To date, courts have generally held that Congress is the appropriate branch to regulate emissions, and that regulators are better equipped than judges to address the global issue of climate policy. Still, despite limited success in the courts, the number of climate liability and public nuisance suits is growing rapidly.
Perhaps more than some other areas, environmental litigation and regulatory approval are often reduced to a battle of experts. The party with the reliably relevant, best prepared, and most credible environmental experts is likely to prevail.