San Francisco and Oakland Are Suing Oil Companies Over Climate Change

San Francisco and Oakland want oil companies to cough up some dough for the cost of addressing climate change. The cities filed separate lawsuits Tuesday against five energy companies seeking an unspecified amount that could add up to billions of dollars. They say they need it to help protect the Bay Area from rising sea levels and other effects of global warming.

“These fossil fuel companies profited handsomely for decades while knowing they were putting the fate of our cities at risk,” said San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera. The city estimates that long-term improvements to San Francisco’s seawall alone will cost $5 billion.

Tuesday’s lawsuits may be more symbolic than anything else. This strategy has been tried on a number of occasions but has yet to pay off. Just two months ago, County News reported on similar lawsuits filed by Marin and San Mateo counties, as well as Imperial Beach. At the time, we noted that a similar lawsuit filed by an Alaskan town in 2008 was dismissed by a federal court.

Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., ExxonMobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell and BP have all said the suits filed Tuesday are without merit and that they’ll fight them in court.


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