USA: Santa Cruz county & city file lawsuits against 29 fossil fuel companies over alleged climate change

santa cruz california

 

On December 20th 2017, the City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County filed separate lawsuits in the California Superior Court against 29 oil, gas, and coal companies in relation to their alleged contribution to climate change. Plaintiffs seek to hold fossil fuel companies liable for rising sea levels but also for extreme weather events such as severe wildfires, drought, and big storms, resulting from greenhouse gas pollution from oil, gas, and coal.

Plaintiffs allege that the 29 fossil fuel companies are directly responsible for 17.5% of total CO2 emissions betwen 1965 and 2015. They also allege that defendants have known about the consequences of fossil fuel use on climate change for over 50 years, and that they failed to act, concealed the dangers and sought to undermine greenhouse gas regulation.

The City of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County say they had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in response to extreme weather events, and will have to incur even higher costs because of climate change impacts and adaptation.

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Article
20 December 2017

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

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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Article
20 December 2017

County of Santa Cruz complaint to Superior Court Of The State Of California

Author: Santa Cruz Office Of The County Counsel and Sher Edling LLP

THE COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ, individually and on behalf of THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff, vs. CHEVRON CORP.; CHEVRON U.S.A. INC.; EXXONMOBIL CORP.; BP P.L.C.; BP AMERICA, INC.; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC; SHELL OIL PRODUCTS COMPANY LLC; CITGO PETROLEUM CORP.; CONOCOPHILLIPS; CONOCOPHILLIPS COMPANY; PHILLIPS 66; TOTAL E&P USA INC.; TOTAL SPECIALTIES USA INC.; ENI S.p.A.; ENI OIL & GAS INC.; ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORP.; OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP.; OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORP.; REPSOL S.A.; REPSOL ENERGY NORTH AMERICA CORP.; REPSOL TRADING USA CORP.; MARATHON OIL COMPANY; MARATHON OIL CORPORATION; MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP.; HESS CORP.; DEVON ENERGY CORP.; DEVON ENERGY PRODUCTION COMPANY, L.P.; ENCANA CORP.; APACHE CORP.; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants 

COMPLAINT FOR: 1. PUBLIC NUISANCE ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; 2. PUBLIC NUISANCE; 3. STRICT LIABILITY – FAILURE TO WARN; 4. STRICT LIABILITY – DESIGN DEFECT; 5. PRIVATE NUISANCE; 6. NEGLIGENCE; 7. NEGLIGENCE – FAILURE TO WARN; and 8. TRESPASS.

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED COMPLAINT 

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Article
20 December 2017

Suing Big Oil over climate change, Santa Cruz eyes wildfire, storm costs

Author: Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Gate (USA)

The city and county of Santa Cruz has joined a growing number of communities suing oil companies over climate change, alleging... the fossil fuel industry long concealed the dangers of its products from consumers.

The two lawsuits, filed Wednesday, blame the use and combustion of oil, gas and coal for accelerating sea level rise and threatening hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the famously dramatic and much visited Santa Cruz County coast.

While the challenge is similar to other suits recently filed by waterfront communities in California... the new cases in Santa Cruz County Superior Court go a step further. They seek to recoup not only the costs of rising seas but of other climate-related events, including big storms, widlfires and drought.

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