September 10, 2020

STATEMENTS: Two new lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry

In the last two days, the state of Delaware and the city of Charleston, South Carolina both filed lawsuits against over 20 fossil fuel corporations. Both suits specifically focus on climate damages and aim to make Big Polluters pay for withholding information from people about the damages they knew their practices would cause.

Please see below for two statements from Sriram Madhusoodanan, U.S. Climate Campaign Director.

On the Charleston, South Carolina lawsuit:

“As communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast reel in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura and people face surreal wildfires in the western half of the country that are escalating by the day, it is abundantly clear that Big Polluters must pay for knowingly fueling the climate crisis.

These severe impacts, just in one country in only a few weeks, are only a tiny snapshot of the climate-related threats endured around the world. Big Polluters’ business models and climate denial machines have put the planet on the brink.

For half a century, the fossil fuel industry has operated without regard for the impact its business has had on the environment and people in the U.S., particularly Black, brown and Indigenous communities. But now, the fossil fuel industry’s reckoning has come. People cannot afford to pay — and keep paying — for Big Polluters’ impunity.

This lawsuit, which comes just after last week’s suit from Hoboken, is a clear indication that people and decision-makers are rejecting the deception and abuses of Big Polluters. Now, other cities and states must follow in Charleston’s footsteps and stand up to Big Polluters.”

On the Delaware lawsuit:

“The impacts of climate-fueled disasters are visible from the U.S. Gulf to Pacific coasts. In just a few weeks, the United States has endured dozens of wildfires, a record breaking hurricane and unprecedented temperature swings. And yet that is only a tiny snapshot of the climate suffering endured around the world particularly in the global South, on top of a global pandemic. 

Today’s lawsuit from Delaware AG Kathy Jennings comes as it is increasingly clear that Big Polluters have nowhere left to hide, and their greenwashing will not protect them. The clip at which these legal challenges are emerging will soon outpace the rate at which Big Polluters’  waning yields can turn a (even heavily subsidized) profit. 

As climate disasters knock on doors and demolish communities at home in the U.S. and around the world, a swelling tide of liability is coming that not even Big Polluters’ legal team can escape. 

This lawsuit comes just one day after the suit from Charleston, SC, just days after Hoboken’s suit and only weeks after D.C. announced its suit. The tide is turning: people and governments are rejecting the deception and abuses of Big Polluters. Now, other city, state and federal leaders must follow in Delaware AG Jennings footsteps and stand up to Big Polluters.”

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