Oakland and San Francisco Lawsuits to Hold Fossil Fuel Companies Accountable for Their Contributions to Sea Level Rise a 'Bold and Necessary Step to Protect Their Communities,' Says Science Group

Statement by Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Sep 20, 2017

OAKLAND (September 20, 2017)— Oakland and San Francisco today announced lawsuits against fossil fuel companies seeking compensation for current and future costs of adapting to climate-related sea level rise. These lawsuits come on the heels of three similar suits filed in July by three California coastal counties, San Mateo and Marin counties and the city of Imperial Beach. Like those lawsuits, the plaintiffs are alleging that climate change impacts will damage city-owned and -operated infrastructure, beaches and parks, and threaten to displace their residents.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The cities of Oakland and San Francisco have taken a bold and necessary step to protect their communities. It is appropriate that people are now looking to the courts, instead of legislators, to help hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their contributions to sea level rise and other climate impacts. 

“Our recently-published peer-reviewed study identified just how much product-related emissions tied to specific fossil fuel companies contributed to the global sea level to rise, and can inform approaches for juries and judges to calculate damages in such lawsuits. We hope this quickly growing field of research will be useful in more public and legal assessments of how best to hold carbon producers accountable for their contributions to climate change.”