July 20, 2018

Baltimore Climate Suit Reaffirms Fossil Fuel Giants Can No Longer Ignore Communities Suffering From Damage Their Products Produced

Statement by Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (July 20, 2018)—Baltimore today sued 26 major fossil fuel companies in a Maryland state court for climate damages. The city joins cities and counties in California, Colorado and Washington state as well as New York City and Rhode Island, bringing the number of U.S. jurisdictions now seeking funding to adapt to climate change to 15.

Baltimore’s lawsuit charges that climate change driven by burning fossil fuels has caused and will continue to cause more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts and precipitation, which have already been linked to heat stroke, respiratory diseases and other serious health problems.

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

“As sea levels rise, so will communities’ efforts to protect their homes and livelihoods. According to a recent UCS analysis, Baltimore residents can expect accelerating sea level rise that by the end of the century will threaten some 2,400 homes that currently represent roughly $17 million in local property taxes.

“These impacts will ripple far beyond property values. Nearly a quarter of Baltimore residents currently live below the poverty line. Poverty and such climate-related threats as coastal flooding intersect to create hotspots of heightened risk. And people living in these communities that stand to lose the most have the least amount of resources to adapt or relocate to safer areas.

“For decades fossil fuel companies have tried to discredit climate science and block climate policies and renewable energy technologies that could have prevented this crisis. Baltimore’s lawsuit reaffirms that fossil fuel companies can no longer ignore communities suffering from the damage their products produced.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.