Big Oil Scores Victory Against California Climate Change Lawsuit

June 26, 2018, 3:18 PM UTC

A California court ruled in favor of the nation’s top oil companies on Monday, dismissing a lawsuit that held them responsible for the effects of global climate change.

Last year, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland sued Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and BP Plc for an abatement fund that would help to aid cities affected by flooding allegedly caused by climate change. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted Chevron’s motion to dismiss the suit, however, stating that “the scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales,” according to a statement released by Chevron.

Chevron noted that similar claims of the production and sale of oil and gas being a public nuisance that produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions had been rejected in courts across the country.

The company also stated that it had filed motions to dismiss such cases in other U.S. cities and counties, including in New York City and King County, Washington, although it does support “meaningful efforts to address climate change and accepts internationally recognized climate science.”

“Reliable, affordable energy is not a public nuisance but a public necessity,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel. “Tackling the difficult international policy issues of climate change requires honest and constructive discussion. Using lawsuits to vilify the men and women who provide the energy we all need is neither honest nor constructive.”