USA: Richmond becomes 9th city in less than a year to file climate change lawsuit against fossil fuel companies

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23 January 2018

The list of cities suing major fossil fuel companies over climate change just got longer

Author: Natasha Geiling, Think Progress

Richmond, California has become the ninth city in less than a year to bring major fossil fuel companies to court over climate change. On Monday, the city announced that it was filing a lawsuit against 29 oil, gas, and coal companies — including Chevron, BP, and Exxon — to try and hold them accountable for their role in climate change and its impacts on the community.

...Richmond argues that it is uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of both its location and its particular economic reality. Richmond is surrounded on three sides by water, and is home to some of the poorest communities in the San Francisco Bay Area...[and] has struggled with industrial pollution due to the presence of several oil refineries and plants operated by Chevron.

...Richmond’s mayor highlighted the city’s economic situation as part of the reason for seeking damages from fossil fuel companies, though the lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount of compensation.

...Richmond’s case will likely rest on two major questions: whether attorneys can definitively trace the impacts of climate change, in this case sea level rise as well as wildfires and droughts, to particular companies, and whether it can be shown that those companies knowingly pushed their products despite knowing the harm they could cause.

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22 January 2018

City of Richmond becomes ninth community seeking to hold fossil fuel companies accountable and protect its taxpayers from costs and consequences of climate change

Author: Office of Richmond Mayor Tom Butt

Faced with growing costs to protect its residents and businesses from climate change-related damages, the City of Richmond, California today joined the growing number of communities that are suing fossil fuel companies for knowingly contributing to climate change...The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court in Contra Costa County.

Richmond is surrounded by water on three sides and is one of the poorest communities in the Bay Area, which makes the city both uniquely vulnerable to rising seas and exceptionally challenged in finding the resources to mitigate or adapt to the damage they cause.

...[T]oday’s lawsuit seeks to hold accountable 29 oil, gas, and coal companies for damages associated with both sea level rise and changes to the hydrologic cycle caused by greenhouse gas pollution from the companies’ products, including more frequent and severe heat waves, drought, and extreme precipitation events.

...The industry has known for decades that business-as-usual combustion of their products could be “severe” or even “catastrophic.” .... Yet instead of taking steps to reduce the threat to others, the industry actually increased production while spending billions on public relations, lobbying, and campaign contributions to hide the truth.

The City of Richmond is represented by its city attorneys and assisted by outside counsel from Sher Edling LLP.

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22 January 2018

City of Richmond – Full Complaint

Author: Richmond City Attorney & Sher Edling LLP

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