Even those of us who write frequently about climate change are having trouble keeping track of all the lawsuits demanding accountability for decades of recklessness in the United States. Help has arrived, though, in the form of a handy guide published this week by the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organization InsideClimate News. The guide will be updated regularly “as events unfold.”
In addition to the kids who are suing the federal government and at least nine states, the roundup reminds us that the attorneys general of both New York and Massachusetts are pursuing fraud investigations into what Exxon executives knew (and when they knew it). Also, nine cities and counties have sued big fossil fuel companies, seeking compensation for a damaged climate.
In one recent courtroom battle, a judge hosted an unprecedented climate “tutorial” to familiarize himself with the science involved in a lawsuit brought by San Francisco and Oakland against Chevron and other major oil companies. Chevron’s attorney said that his client agrees with the scientific consensus that it is extremely likely that human activity has been driving global warming since 1950. But Chevron doesn’t believe it’s at fault for wrecking the climate, because it’s in the business of mining and refining fossil fuels, not burning them.
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