New York City sues ExxonMobil over climate change

Home   /   New York City sues ExxonMobil over climate change

first_img…four other oil companies also suedThe New York City Government is suing the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damage to the city from climate change.The suit, filed Tuesday against ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 per cent of all of the global-warming gases through the oil and gas products they have sold over the years.It also charges that the companies and the industry they are part of have known for some time about the consequences, but sought to obscure them.“In this litigation, the City seeks to shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat,” reads the lawsuit, brought by New York Corporation counsel Zachary Carter and filed in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.The legal strategy has already been embraced by several California cities and counties, but prior lawsuits seeking to blame companies for their role in causing climate change have foundered.It remains unclear whether a new wave of litigation — propelled by stronger climate science, reports about how much some companies knew about climate change decades ago, and somewhat divergent legal strategies — would succeed where those efforts have failed.Exxon responded to New York’s lawsuit on its blog, where the firm has also challenged investigative reports from InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times that showed the company was an early pioneer in climate-change science in the 1980s, reports that were cited in the suit.“ExxonMobil welcomes any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change,” wrote Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue, and requires global participation and actions. Lawsuits of this kind — filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life — simply do not do that.”Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall said in an email: “This lawsuit is factually and legally meritless, and will do nothing to address the serious issue of climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement. Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory and economic priorities.”New York charges in the lawsuit that it is “spending billions of dollars” to protect its coastlines, its infrastructure and its citizens from climate warming.The suit does not specify precisely how much money it is asking for from the oil companies in what it calls “compensatory damages,” saying that should be established in the case.At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, calling it “a tragedy wrought by the actions of the fossil fuel companies.” He detailed the 44 people who died in New York as a result of Sandy, as well as the estimated $19 billion in damage it caused.“That is the face of climate change,” de Blasio said. “That is what it means in human and real terms.”De Blasio claimed fossil fuel companies were complicit in worsening climate change, because they knew of the problem decades ago, but continued to sell to Americans a product that contributed to only more greenhouse gas emissions. (Excerpted from Washington Post)last_img

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