In The Weather Makers, there is a chapter called “The Last Act of God”. The premise is that storms and the like were all considered acts of god from a legal standpoint. This meant that no one could be held responsible. However, in light of anthropogenic climate change, these things are now foreseeable consequences of actions of corporations, nations, and even to a very small extent individuals.
This means that these entities may now be open to litigation in international court for damages that result from climate change as a foreseeable outcome of the actions of these entities.
I found this to be an interesting concept when I read about it. Given my bent, I would actually be hopeful about such actions if I felt that they were in any practical way a real possibility. However, I did not think so at all. I could not imagine an international court taking the side of the Inuit, for example, over The United States or ExxonMobil.
However, it now appears that a group of lawyers are looking to take a slightly different tack on this. They are following in the path of the litigation against tobacco companies. Rather than trying to prove a specific portion of the damages attributable to the particular entities in the suit, they are alleging a conspiracy to sow doubt among voters and policy makers, thus preventing any real action on climate change.
This appeals to me because it actually is representative of the facts in the real world.
Corporations, most notably ExxonMobil have indeed paid scientists for years to attempt to undermine the science of climate change. This was done deliberately. This was a concerted effort. This was done with malicious intent for short term profit. I have no idea whether they will be successful at proving this beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
I hope they are.
I have personally had enough debates about global warming to know that in a tremendous majority of cases when someone disputes anthropogenic climate change and cites a source, it is most often either a website funded directly or indirectly by ExxonMobil or a scientist with known ties to such organizations. The other significant category of sources is scientists in fields unrelated to climate change, most often meteorology, which sounds like a related field, but actually has nothing at all to do with climatology.
Anyway, I hope you will read the Atlantic article in the following link. It explains the grounds on which the litigation is based far more accurately than I can.