Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Gore, Schneiderman announce climate change effort

May 18, 2016

As published in the Niagara Gazette on March 29, 2016.

Former Vice President Al Gore joined New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other attorneys general from across the country on Tuesday in announcing plans for a coalition designed to combat climate change.

During an announcement in New York City, Gore, Schniederman and several other attorneys general said the initiative would include ongoing and potential investigations into whether fossil fuel companies misled investors and the public on the impact of climate change on their businesses.

In 2015, New York State reached a historic settlement with Peabody Energy – the world’s largest publicly traded coal company – concerning the company’s misleading financial statements and disclosures. New York is also investigating ExxonMobil for similar alleged conduct.

Officials said many of the states in the coalition have worked together on previous multi-state environmental efforts, including pressing the EPA to limit climate change pollution from fossil-fueled electric power plants, defending federal rules controlling climate change emissions from large industrial facilities, and pushing for federal controls on emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry.

“We cannot continue to allow the fossil fuel industry or any industry to treat our atmosphere like an open sewer or mislead the public about the impact they have on the health of our people and the health of our planet,” Gore said. “Attorneys General and law enforcement officials around the country have long held a vital role in ensuring that the progress we have made to solve the climate crisis is not only protected, but advanced. The first-of-its-kind coalition announced today is another key step on the path to a sustainable, clean-energy future.”

All of the members of the new coalition are part a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties led by Schneiderman that intervened to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” against legal challenge.

On Tuesday, the interveners filed a brief with the DC Circuit Court defending President Obama’s Clean Power Plan rule, which establishes a nationwide framework to achieve meaningful and cost effective reductions of carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants—the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation—and provides states and power plants flexibility to decide how best to achieve these reductions.

“With gridlock and dysfunction gripping Washington, it is up to the states to lead on the generation-defining issue of climate change. We stand ready to defend the next president’s climate change agenda, and vow to fight any efforts to roll-back the meaningful progress we’ve made over the past eight years,” Schneiderman said. “Our offices are seriously examining the potential of working together on high-impact, state-level initiatives, such as investigations into whether fossil fuel companies have misled investors about how climate change impacts their investments and business decisions.”