17 January 2018

Los Angeles joins NYC in suing fossil fuel companies over climate change

Inspired by the recent move by New York, the city council of Los Angeles has announced its intentions to file a lawsuit against oil and gas companies over allegations that they have consciously contributed to climate change.

Last week, Los Angeles city council members Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz submitted a written proposal requesting that the City Attorney Mike Feuer assess the feasibility of legal action.

“Reports made public by InsideClimate News in recent years have revealed that oil companies have been aware of climate change and the industry’s role in causing it since as early as the late 1970s”, the release reads.

The proposal claims that oil and gas companies have known about  the impact of greenhouse gas emissions released from fossil fuel combustion would be for decades; it also suggests that climate change was a contributing factor in the intensity of the recent fires experienced in California.

It explained that research has warned that by 2050 average temperatures in LA are expected to increase by 5 degrees, creating more smog and posing significant health threats to the public.  

Last week, New York City asked for billions in compensation from 5 oil companies deemed to have made the largest contributions to global warming- BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell- a move that was celebrated heavily among the environmental community.

New York Mayor de Blasio said: “We’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits”.

Mr. Bonin and Mr. Koretz concluded that “by knowing that their business practice was contributing to climate change and doing nothing to stop their destructive ways, the oil and gas industry should be held responsible  for the current and future damage climate change is causing our city”, adding that taxpayers should not bear the cost of climate change.

Last year, San Francisco and Oakland filed a lawsuit against the same oil and gas companies over rising sea levels, claiming that although the companies were aware of the impact they have on climate change “they launched a multi-million-dollar disinformation campaign to deny and discredit what was clear even to their own scientists: global warming is real and their product is a huge part of the problem”. 

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