Should oil companies pay for climate change? Yes, there is evidence

San Francisco Chronicle | 3/21/2018 | By Ann Carlson and Peter C. Frumhoff
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Photo: DANIELLA BECCARIA, SEATTLEPI.COM People in kayaks protest against the Port of Seattle being used as a port for Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rig Polar Pioneer in May 2015.

On Wednesday, a federal judge will hold a “climate science tutorial” as part of San Francisco’s and Oakland’s nuisance cases against five oil giants for damages related to sea level rise. He has invited plaintiffs and defendants to present the history of climate science and “the best science now available on global warming, glacier melt, sea rise and coastal flooding.” Last week another federal court rejected oil companies’ efforts to get nuisance cases filed against them by Imperial Beach (San Diego County) and Marin and San Mateo counties moved from state courts into the federal system. The decision dealt the companies a huge blow, given favorable California law.

Heart - Cases - Questions - Fuel - Producers

At the heart of both cases are these central questions: What did fossil fuel producers know about climate change and its causes and effects, when did they know it, and how did their public statements square with what they knew? The answers could help determine whether these companies should pay for some of the billions of dollars needed to protect Californians from rising seas and damage from drought, wildfire and other extreme events worsened by climate change.

A decade ago, courts dismissed a series of nuisance suits brought against fossil fuel emitters alleging they should be held responsible for their greenhouse gas emissions. Judges dismissed the cases largely on grounds that plaintiffs lacked the evidence to show that coal-burning power plants and other big emitters caused specific climate harms. Today plaintiffs can show, based on new scientific studies, the clear connection between heat-trapping emissions and worsening impacts.

Scientists - Example - Carbon - Emissions - Products

Scientists have found, for example, that carbon emissions traced to the products of 20 large fossil fuel producers have contributed...
(Excerpt) Read more at: San Francisco Chronicle
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