Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forget the campaign trail and Congress. The real debate on climate change is happening in the courtrooms.

The big picture: With federal policy gridlocked, advocates are pushing an ever-growing list of long-shot lawsuits blaming big oil companies and the government for the planet’s hot mess.

Why it matters: Lawsuits are one key piece of the puzzle to getting big change on energy and climate policy. Even if advocates don’t win in court, they still draw media attention and put pressure on their targets.

  • The more pressure grows, and if a ruling in advocates’ favor emerges as a possibility, the more likely corporations and/or the government would support policy addressing the matter.

Driving the news: Numerous cases are piling up that rest on various legal theories. Let's focus on three timely developments.

  1. A ruling is expected next month on a closely watched fraud lawsuit from the New York attorney general alleging ExxonMobil misled investors on its handling of climate-change costs. The Massachusetts AG just filed a similar lawsuit.
  2. Several lawsuits blaming a handful of big oil companies for rising temperatures are moving forward in courts across the country.
  3. After hearing oral arguments in June, a three-judge federal panel has yet to rule on a high-profile case where children are alleging the government failed them on climate change.

The Exxon case started out as a grand accusation, but it’s ending on a minor note.

  • The AG’s office first began investigating Exxon in 2015, alleging the oil giant knowingly hid scientific knowledge about climate change from the public and its investors for decades and should be held liable for damages caused by rising temperatures.
  • Four years later, the case is now a shell of its initial self: It’s about whether the oil giant confused investors with how it assesses the costs of climate-change policies on its operations.
  • If Exxon loses, it could have to pay up to $1.6 billion in damages. This Bloomberg article goes deeper into the case.
  • What’s next: The narrow lawsuit is already a win for Exxon, but if New York prevails in the ruling, expect advocates to spin this as a broader victory for climate action —even though it isn’t, largely because the law in question is unique to New York.

Another batch of lawsuits suing oil companies are relying mostly on state tort laws to allege a loss or harm, creating a legal liability.

  • A growing list of cities and one state (Rhode Island) are suing Exxon, Shell and other oil companies, alleging they have created a public “nuisance” by producing and selling oil and natural gas knowing their products would fuel climate change.
  • The cases seek compensation (amounts to be determined at trial) from oil companies to pay for costs governments are paying to respond to global warming, like the impacts of wildfires and rising sea levels.
  • Some of these cases are now proceeding under state law, not federal law. Cases under federal law have been dismissed on the grounds that dealing with climate change is a matter for Congress and the president. The law is less tested at the state level.
  • What’s next: Oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals on whether federal or state law applies are scheduled for this month in a case brought by New York City. Other cases are proceeding at the state level.

Advocates and detractors alike are awaiting a ruling from a lawsuit filed by young people arguing the U.S. government has violated their constitutional rights by failing to act on climate change. The lawsuit calls on the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A federal three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the case this summer, where the judges equally scrutinized both sides.
  • Most legal experts say a win is unlikely given the novelty of the legal argument, but if it does occur, it would be a landmark victory for climate advocates. (It would also be appealed.)
  • What’s next: A decision could come any time (tomorrow or not for months).

These three developments represent the latest round in what have been years' worth of climate litigation. Indeed, despite all this effort, climate advocates have not actually succeeded (yet) in legally pinning the blame on, well, anyone, including oil companies and the government.

There are plenty of procedural pitfalls that these cases still have to navigate. That having been said, there are a diverse set of legal theories currently being tested in a variety of jurisdictions, so there is some reasonable chance that one or more will ultimately survive.”
— Michael Livermore, University of Virginia law school professor not involved in the lawsuits.

What I'm watching: How these legal fights come up on the campaign trail. At least two Democratic presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have said they would pursue legal battles against big oil companies under similar arguments.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Rising rates may hammer the stock market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Stocks are much more vulnerable to interest rate swings than they used to be.

Why it matters: A sharp rise in rates in early 2022 is the key reason the stock market is off to an ugly start. And with the Federal Reserve making noise about trying to keep inflation in check, rates could go higher.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal complicates Big Tech regulation

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Microsoft's surprise $68 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard is adding a fresh twist to the heated debate over which tech companies have monopolies that need to be reined in.

The big picture: The deal could force a question the company has happily ducked for a decade: whether its size and power make it just as deserving of regulatory scrutiny as its Big Tech rivals.