Climate lawsuits pose risk to US businesses — report

By Lesley Clark | 05/09/2024 06:27 AM EDT

S&P Global Ratings says litigation has not yet dented companies’ creditworthiness, but adverse rulings could deal a blow to a variety of sectors.


A new study finds that U.S. businesses may soon face major fallout from climate lawsuits. Francis Chung/E&E News

U.S. businesses could soon face major strategic and financial fallout from climate litigation, a new study finds.

The Tuesday report by S&P Global Ratings found that climate litigation against the oil and gas industry has not yet affected any company’s creditworthiness — but risks are mounting.

“[W]e believe that if the costs associated with climate litigation were to increase materially, the potential impact on the competitive position and financial risk profiles of some entities would change,” the report said.


S&P noted that oil companies face a growing number of lawsuits from local governments looking to hold the fossil fuel industry financially accountable — to the tune of billions of dollars — for climate change. But the report said that uncertainty about “potential rulings and associated costs” means the cases have not yet affected companies’ credit ratings.