CIEL Statement on San Francisco and Oakland Lawsuit Against Five Carbon Majors to Abate the Costs of Sea Level Rise

September 20, 2017

Today, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against five major carbon producers – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Exxon, and Shell – seeking a court order requiring the defendants to abate the costs of sea level rise that the cities must incur due to climate change.

Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), issued the following statement:

“Recent weeks have made painfully clear both the human toll and the mounting costs of climate change – from widespread wildfires in the Western United States to the climate-fueled catastrophes of Harvey, Irma, and now Maria. San Francisco and Oakland have been leaders in acknowledging and adapting to the urgent realities of climate change, including the near and long-term impacts of sea level rise. With today’s suit, the cities break new ground in asking the corporations most accountable for those impacts to bear a share of the burden. By demanding polluters abate the nuisance of sea level rise, San Francisco and Oakland highlight the dramatic and ongoing costs of climate change on state and local governments across the country, and open a new pathway for governments to recoup those costs from polluters.”