Virginia Court Sides With Insurer In Kivalina, Alaska Global Warming Case

09/16/2011 05:50 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an insurance company in a case that legal experts say is the first in the nation on whether insurers may be liable for claims arising from global warming.

The court unanimously ruled Friday that a native Alaskan village's claims against AES Corp. were not covered by the Virginia-based energy company's liability insurance carrier, Steadfast Insurance Co. The ruling upheld a lower court decision.

Kivalina, a native community on an Alaskan barrier island, alleged in a 2008 lawsuit that greenhouse emissions by AES and other companies damaged the village by causing global warming. Steadfast claimed it did not owe AES a defense or indemnity coverage because the complaint did not allege an "occurrence" of property damage.