Two more cities sue oil companies over climate change, rising oceans

By Tim Pearce

Two more California cities have joined a push to force the oil and gas industry to pay for urban defenses against the effects of climate change, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Oakland and San Francisco filed separate suits Wednesday against five oil companies, calling them a “public nuisance” and seeking to force the companies to pay for infrastructure, such as sea walls, to protect coastal cities from rising oceans.

The suits are part of a growing wave of litigation against the oil and gas industry attempting to force companies to cover the costs of natural disasters, WSJ reports.

“These companies knew fossil fuel-driven climate change was real, they knew it was caused by their products and they lied to cover up that knowledge to protect their astronomical profits,” Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said in a statement. “The harm to our cities has commenced and will only get worse. The law is clear that the defendants are responsible for the consequences of their reckless and disastrous actions.”

If the cities are successful, the oil companies — British Petroleum, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell — must create and pay into a fund for each city that will be used to purchase billions worth of infrastructure upgrades needed to protect each city from rising seas, according to Parker’s press release.

The companies intend to “vigorously defend” themselves, an Exxon Mobil spokesman told WSJ.

“Climate change is a complex societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change to drive low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers, not by the courts,” a Shell spokesman said.

“Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory, and economic priorities,” a Chevron spokeswoman told Reuters.

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7 thoughts on “Two more cities sue oil companies over climate change, rising oceans

  1. Wonder what would happen if those big bad oil companies should just say enough, fold their tents and leave California taking thousands of high paying jobs with them? You could hear the screams all the way to the Right coast. Not a realistic wonder, but you get the point.

  2. Since we live in a closed system with a finite quantity of water, from where are they getting all this extra water? The polar ice is not melting, in fact it is growing. The snow cap in the Rockies is greater than ever. Has someone been hiding the water in their armpits?

  3. Before they sue the oil companies they should first make the sale and use of fossil fuel illegal in their cities. Walk the walk.

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