California Cities Sue Oil Companies over Climate Change

Global WarmingCity attorneys in San Francisco and Oakland, California, sued five oil companies in two coordinated lawsuits on Tuesday, arguing that the courts should hold these companies responsible for climate change, and force them to financially compensate the cities for harm the plaintiffs claim those companies are causing to the planet’s environment.

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The two cities are suing five of the top petroleum companies from around the world: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile, and Royal Dutch Shell. These local municipalities are suing them under California law for being a public nuisance.

The lawsuits use virtually identical language, like accusing the oil companies with language such as, “For decades, Defendants have known that their fossil fuels pose risks of ‘severe’ and ‘catastrophic’ impacts on the global climate through the works and warnings of their own scientists or through their trade association.”

The cities’ complaints impugn the worst possible motives to the oil companies, comparing their actions to a sustained “propaganda campaign to deceive the public” to encourage “fuel consumption at levels that (as Defendants knew) [were] certain to severely harm the public.”

The lawsuits are demanding money from the companies on a scale to offset all of the effects of climate change in those cities. While the lawsuit does not provide specific amounts, the plaintiffs could advance theories that would claim that those numbers are in the billions of dollars.

By bringing these claims in the county courts in San Francisco and Alameda, the cities’ attorneys are setting them on a legal course where the justices of the California Supreme Court—a reliably liberal court—would ultimately decide the financial liability of the oil companies.

One immediate step the oil companies could take is to remove these lawsuits to federal court. They could invoke a federal district court’s “diversity jurisdiction” under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the plaintiffs are from different states or nations than all of the defendants and the amount being sued for exceeds $75,000.

Such a move would take any appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where critics would fear the chances of a leftwing outcome, but would also preserve the option that the final word on this case would ultimately come from the U.S. Supreme Court instead of the California Supreme Court.

The first lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Herrera v. BP, No. CGC-17-561370 in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco.

The second lawsuit is The People of the State of California ex rel. Oakland City Attorney v. BP, No. RG-17-875889 in the Superior Court of the County of Alameda.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

This article was originally published by


  1. I fervently hope that all oil companies stop delivery of gasoline into any of these stupid cities! After all, they are a public nuisance! On the other hand, this could be the end of the stupid climate hoax when these “cities” have to prove scientifically that there is a devastating climate change 100 years from now.

  2. This is pure unadulterated horse hockey! These ultra libturd owned cities want to find a deep pockets sugar daddy to fund their off the charts lunatic social re-engineering whacko plans! Liberal snowflakes carry signs saying “share the wealth,” but I never see one which says, “share the work!”

    The democrat progressives have devolved us into children who demand a permanent recess from the classroom of financial or emotional reality of life in the real world!!

  3. Emanuelle Goldstein says

    Extortion, collusion and shake-down are a few words that come to mind.

  4. Tell me another crock- of manure! Climate change what a lie right from the start! Yes , it is extortion -criminal actions from the lib-left! These are the same non-thinkers who are out to destroy CA along with Jerry Brown and his brown-shirts . These criminals need to move to Mexico where the reality of the Earth’s surface and air are up close and real!

  5. Stupid is as Stupid does!


    Good now they will have to prove oil causes global warming.

  7. Poem: If only I could turn back the time
    By Keith Watson

    Reflecting on your past, what would you change to make it better?
    You could send someone the right information in a letter
    Many things I would change, knowing the outcome, just change the words you have said
    Changing the course of things doing different things instead

    Knowing the outcome of the game, save us the toll of life, lifting heavy lumber
    Just one day back in time, may make the difference, a winning lottery number
    Time to change mistakes you made, no need to look back in anger
    If only we could, the world should be love much more, to keep us safe for longer

    To tell people about the future, to warn the world
    Before it starts and gets out of hand before it’ begins
    With all the trouble in the world, with the mess and lack of education,
    A throwaway society we have become, the fact remains

    Messing about with technologies, creation of power invented in Science
    Like nuclear energy, pushed as mitigation rapidly building Pandora Box in defiance
    Global methane and release = HAARP technology, may course violence cataclysm
    When the World was first born, great violence with destruction, catastrophic geological phenomenon

    Imploring my fellow man to build a better future if I can
    Without such powers of great construction
    Turning back the clock, to make new of the soil of nature
    To grow in strength shedding the seeds of life again in recognition

    God, sends his love in mysterious ways, fresh droplets, “drink all that you can”
    The storm clouds sending, down comes to the rain.
    If only I could turn back time, allowing nature and hope to continue on
    For life still growing and showing that humanity should start again

  8. This is so amusing as the UN IPCC has very recently admitted man-made global warming, aka to the left, climate change (as if climate doesn’t change), to be a hoax and that the UN computer models were only slightly off…just 2 or 3 times exaggerated!

  9. Frivolous and oil companies can counter–more $–lies and corruption–there is NO climate change–just another FAT Albert ploy

  10. Michael Hass says

    Let’s see. ALL of mankind is affecting climate by .0001%, according to climatologists (the REAL weather people), so the oil companies would have a percentage of that. Climate change is a natural occurrence, not manmade. Follow the money.

  11. retiredxlr8r says

    Follow the money.
    Noting to do with climate change here.
    Move along…..

  12. Shane Conway says

    I have been saying for years, now, that the private businesses should stop all operations in California. There is no law that requires businesses to operate or sell their products in any particular state. If I were the crowd of ExxonMobil or any other big corporation, I would think it would be more profitable to pull out and leave Californians to ride their bicycles or ride horses again. Oh, wait. Horses pollute, too.

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