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Lawsuit

17 Jul 2017

California communities’ lawsuit against 37 fossil fuel companies (re climate change compensation)

Status: ONGOING

Incident date
July 17, 2017
Unknown
Community
Location of Filing: United States of America
Location of Incident: United States of America
Type of Litigation: Domestic

Companies

BP United Kingdom Oil, gas & coal
ConocoPhillips United States of America Oil, gas & coal
Chevron United States of America Oil, gas & coal
ExxonMobil United States of America Oil, gas & coal
Eni Italy Oil, gas & coal
Marathon Oil United States of America Oil, gas & coal
Occidental Petroleum United States of America Oil, gas & coal
Pemex Mexico Oil, gas & coal
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) Netherlands Oil, gas & coal
Equinor (formerly Statoil) Norway Oil, gas & coal
Total France Oil, gas & coal
Marathon Petroleum United States of America Oil, gas & coal

Sources

Snapshot: In 2017, three local governments in California filed a lawsuit against 37 fossil fueld companies, including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell. They allege defendants were aware of the impact of their greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and failed to act. They seek compensation for current and future costs of adapating to the consequences of climate change. The case is ongoing.

On 17 July 2017, three local governments in California (San Mateo County, Marin County, and the City of Imperial Beach) filed a lawsuit against 37 fossil fuel companies including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, Shell and Statoil.

They allege that the companies knew about the impacts of their greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and failed to act. They are seeking compensation for the current and future costs of adapting to the consequences of climate change, such as sea level rises.

According to Shell, climate change should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change not by the courts. Statoil pointed out that previous lawsuits of this type had been dismissed for being a political, not a judicial, issue.

On 16 March 2018, a US District Court ruled that California state courts were the appropriate setting for the climate lawsuits.  The oil and gas companies targeted by the lawsuits had argued that the matter should be transfered to federal courts.  The companies have six weeks to appeal.

In May 2020, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's decision to remand the case to state courts.

Case Timeline