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Colorado, like many Western states, is facing down another year of record-breaking wildfires. Colorado’s Boulder County estimates that over the next 30 years, it will cost $100 million to update transport and drainage systems to reduce wildfire risk.
But the county doesn’t want to put its residents on the hook. Instead, the regional government wants those who fueled the climate crisis to foot the bill. The Boulder County government is suing oil companies ExxonMobil and Suncor to “pay their fair share of what it will cost a community to deal with the problem the companies created.”
Why This Matters: Like other lawsuits working to hold oil companies accountable, the Colorado lawsuit points to the fossil fuel industry hiding their own scientists’ warnings at the expense of humanity.
“It is far more difficult to change it now than it would have been if the companies had been honest about what they knew 30 or 50 years ago,” Marco Simons, general counsel for Earth Rights International, which is handling the lawsuit for the county, told the Guardian.
Lawsuits holding oil companies liable for climate change haven’t been terribly successful in the United States–New York’s lawsuit against five oil companies was tossed out by a federal judge and that decision was then upheld by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, this past June, the Supreme Court allowed lawsuits brought by San Francisco and Oakland against oil companies to proceed, giving hope to climate activists that legal precedent might soon be set.
Other Climate Lawsuits Advance in the Courts: In2015 and 2016, the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts launched investigations of Exxon, kicking off years of legal back and forth between the states and the oil giant. This summer, a Massachusetts state judge said Exxon must face the state in its lawsuit, which accuses the company of misleading people about its role in the climate crisis.
And that’s just looking at Exxon—other oil companies also face lawsuits for their misleading public communications.
“The disinformation that these companies put out in the ’80s and ’90s was most significant in shaping our energy path,” Sean Hecht, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law, told E&E News. “That was when there was an opportunity for us to take a different path.”
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer There’s been a three-fold increase in climate targets by Fortune Global 500 companies over the past three years, but more than 60% still don’t have any commitments on the books. That’s according to numbers from Natural Capital Partners, who led a discussion with leaders from some of the companies […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Just a month and a half after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported a “code red” for the world to combat climate, the UN announced on Friday that recent climate action plans submitted by 191 countries won’t come close to limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees […]
This week is Climate Week NYC, an annual event hosted by The Climate Group and the United Nations, in partnership with the COP26 and the City of New York. For one week, from September 20-26, experts will be hosting panels and conversations about all things climate, and you can follow along at home via Facebook […]
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