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Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation

696 F.3d 849 (2012)

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Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

696 F.3d 849 (2012)

Facts

The Native Village of Kivalina and City of Kivalina (collectively, Kivalina) (plaintiffs), located on a barrier reef on the coast of Alaska, were faced with imminent destruction from erosion caused by the accelerating loss of sea ice due to climate change. Kivalina brought a federal common-law nuisance claim in federal district court against 22 oil, energy, and utility companies (collectively, the energy producers) (defendants). Kivalina asserted that emissions of greenhouse gases by the energy producers caused the rise of the global temperature, the expansion of seawater, and ultimately, the loss of sea ice. Kivalina claimed that the energy producers’ actions created a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of public and private land. Kivalina also alleged that the energy producers conspired to create global warming and to mislead the public about it. The energy producers moved to dismiss the suit for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, arguing that the claims were nonjusticiable political questions and that Kivalina’s injuries were not fairly traceable to the actions of the energy producers. The district court granted the motion to dismiss on both grounds, and Kivalina appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Concurrence (Pro, J.)

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