Past Event

Can Fossil Fuel Companies Be Held Liable for Climate Change?

October 23, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, room 104

The event is free but registration is required. Register here

After 15 years of climate change litigation, the question of whether anybody can be held legally liable for the adverse impacts of climate change remains unanswered.  However, the Trump administration’s effort to roll back climate regulation in the United States; the devastation caused by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey; developments in the science of climate change attribution; and a handful of recent lawsuits filed by cities and counties in California have put the question front and center. This panel discussion will look at one particular set of defendants – companies involved in the extraction, production and marketing of fossil fuels. Panelists will summarize the current state of attribution science, and present core legal arguments for and against liability.


Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science & Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists

Sharon Eubanks, Partner, Bordas & Bordas

Thomas A. Lorenzen, Partner, Crowell & Moring

Gerald Torres, Professor, Cornell Law School


Michael Burger, Executive Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

This event will be livestreamed and recorded. To access the livestream, please click here (the link will go live on October 23 at 5:30 PM)



The event is co-sponsored by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, the Earth Institute, The Union of Concerned Scientists and the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee.

This program is supported by the David Sive Memorial Fund, which is generously supported by Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C.