February 5, 2020

STATEMENT: Oil majors back in court in California

Please see our statement from Sriram Madhusoodanan on today’s lawsuits in California that seek to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for historic harms and deception.


On Wednesday, Oil Majors will be back in court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will begin two separate oral arguments on California-based lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations including ExxonMobil, Chevron and others for climate damages the corporations have knowingly fueled.

The three-judge panel will consider if the climate lawsuits should proceed in federal or state court and if it was correct to dismiss the cases brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco in district court.

These hearings kick off as people in California and globally feel all too well the current and future impacts of climate change: massive wildfires, sea-level rise, chronic flooding, heat waves and chronic damage to coastal ecosystems. These devastating impacts and financial costs from the climate crisis are not felt equally in California or around the world: time and again it is indigenous communities, communities of color, low-income families, women and people in the Global South who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

These hearings are just one front in a global movement to hold the fossil fuel industry and other Big Polluters liable by forcing them to pay up for the costs of climate change. In the U.S. and globally, individuals, communities and governments are taking the fossil fuel industry to court and saying it’s time to make Big Polluters pay for knowingly fueling the climate crisis and the damages the crisis has and will cause. There are currently around 10 pending against the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. alone.

The hearings will begin at 9 a.m. PST in courtroom 3 of the Richard H. Chambers Courthouse (125 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA) and livestreamed here.

Please see below for a quote from Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director at Corporate Accountability.

“For decades, Exxon, Shell and others have known their business practices were driving climate change and used every tool at their disposal to mislead the public and block just climate policy. Now, facing a long-anticipated Big Tobacco moment, the fossil fuel industry is attempting to protect its profits by using considerable legal muscle to move these lawsuits to favorable courts — all while falsely advertising to the public that it’s serious about tackling climate change.

These corporations’ abuses may span the globe, but their impacts are also felt locally. Just like Big Tobacco and Big Pharma lawsuits before it, these cases belong in state court. People and communities – from the global frontlines of the climate crisis to cities in California – deserve justice in court and should not be left to foot the bill for damages deliberately fueled by the abuses and deception of Big Polluters.”

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