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City, County Of Santa Cruz Go To Court To Hold Largest Fossil Fuel Corporations Accountable For Contributions To Climate Change

Author: City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County, Published on: 20 December 2017

The City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County...filed separate lawsuits in California Superior Court...seek[ing] to hold accountable 29 oil, gas, and coal companies not just for damages associated with sea level rise, but also for changes to the hydrologic cycle caused by greenhouse gas pollution from the companies’ products, including more frequent and severe wildfires, drought, and extreme precipitation events.

...According to the complaints: Defendants have known for nearly 50 years that greenhouse gas pollution from their fossil fuel products has a significant impact on the Earth’s climate and sea levels...Defendants concealed the dangers...Defendants are directly responsible for 215.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions between 1965 and 2015, representing 17.5% of total emissions of that potent greenhouse gas during that period.

...In Santa Cruz County, expected sea level rise by 2030 of four inches would put 850 buildings and assets valued at $742 million at risk...[T]he County has incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses for planning, permitting, and repair due to severe winter storms in recent years ...[and] must prepare for increasing costs of fire suppression as well as secondary public health costs associated with wildfire...The City of Santa Cruz also has serious vulnerabilities to climate change and faces significant adaptation costs

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