Climate change is one of the most talked about issues the world is apparently facing today.
Big cities have started to take notice.
And they’re taking action.
A group of American youth in Oregon filed a case against the US Government back in 2015. According to Our Children’s Trust, the group are suing against the US’s contribution to climate change.
Their case argues that the government ‘violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.’
The young plaintiffs will see trial on 5 February this year.
Los Angeles lawmakers are also taking action. They have accused handful of big oil companies of contributing to climate change. They’re hoping for reimbursement after a tumultuous season of wildfires and deadly mudslides.
And that’s just the US. According to DW.com, we’re seeing similar cases in Germany and the Netherlands.
Now New York City is joining the race.
New York sues big oil companies over climate change
New York City is suing big oil for their contribution to climate change.
They have announced their intention to sell off their investments in fossil fuel companies. And they’ve filed a federal claim against the likes of BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, according to News.com.au.
The claim specifically refers to the billions of damage done by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
According to The Guardian, the court documents aim to ‘shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.’
It’s a blow to US President Donald Trump, who pulled out of the Paris climate agreement last year. But if any of these cases, New York City’s in particular, are successful, this could set a huge precedent moving forward.
It would suggest that the world is able to designate blame for climate change, despite the existence of global warming being hotly debated to this day.
If the cases against big oil are successful, this could have a ripple effect around the world. And if multiple countries are suing these companies for billions at a time, it could have a devastating effect on certain industry’s.
And while cities are suing those companies, the youth group in Oregon are suing the government. Exxon Mobil are countersuing those Californian cities for the ‘conspiracy’ against them for trying to ‘advance their political objectives by imposing unlawful burdens on perceived political opponents.’
At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, is held accountable for an issue of this capacity. Especially for large scale weather events such as Hurricane Sandy. After all, the floods that forced Noah to build an ark happened long before oil was used.