The Virginia Supreme Court recently agreed to rehear a coverage dispute involving the defense of climate-change lawsuits. The court previously had held that historic emissions of greenhouse gases were not a covered “occurrence.” The rehearing decision is unusual and the case is considered an important bellwether as the first of its kind.
As global temperatures rise and the apparent shift away from the combustion of fossil fuels continues to affect the global economy, properly managing environmental risks becomes even more vital. This case, Steadfast Ins. Co. v. AES (hereafter, Steadfast), involves a dispute over an insurance company’s duty to defend claims involving nuisance and emissions.