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