7 February 2018

Paris is considering suing the fossil fuel industry

Following the recent damaging floods in Paris, city officials are exploring the possibility of suing fossil fuel companies, joining New York and other major American cities in the courtroom against oil and natural gas companies.  

The announcement came this Tuesday through a press release from an international environmental organisation advocating for the phase-out of fossil fuels.

The city council has also pledged to lobby other major cities, including London, to divest their investments from fossil fuel companies through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group which is chaired by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

In 2015, the city of Paris pledged to phase out investment in fossil fuels. As part of the new announcement, the city council will also release an update on the progress that has been achieved towards this aim.

 Clémence Dubois, France Fossil Free campaigner at commented: “It’s fantastic news that cities like New York and Paris are mobilizing to protect their citizens and hold multinational fossil fuel companies accountable for the damage they cause”.

“Fossil fuel companies like Total, Shell, BP, and Exxon are causing floods and heat waves that are intensifying in Paris, and severe floods, droughts, forest fires, rising sea levels strike in France and around the world. This wish is a crucial step towards a future free of fossils”, she added.

The severe flooding that Paris experienced this winter, along with the summer heat waves, has been characterised by Mayor Anne Hidalgo as ‘a question of the town adapting to climate change’.

Moreover, recent studies have found that the flooding the city experienced in May 2016 was twice as likely attributed to human-made climate change.

The move is likely to put further pressure on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who as part of its pre-election campaign pledged to divest the London City Hall from fossil fuels.

This January, New York became the first major US city to take 5 of the biggest fossil fuel companies- including BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, to court due to their contribution to climate change.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has 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. As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient”.

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