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3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against "Big Oil" Over Rising Sea Levels

Just when you think you've seen it all, the snowflake capital of the world finds new, creative and amazing ways to shock your system.  In it's latest attempt to do just that, three California counties, two in the Bay Area and one in Southern California, have filed a lawsuit against 37 of the world’s biggest oil and coal companies alleging they're ultimately responsible for the public's usage of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions they create which will ultimately contribute to rising sea levels and lay waste to their least that seems to be the 'logic' as far as we can tell.

According to The Chronicle, Marin County, San Mateo County and Imperial Beach (located in San Diego County) filed separate but nearly identical lawsuits in their respective Superior Court offices that seek to tie fossil fuel development to climate-related problems in coastal areas. Attorneys for the three counties worked together on their lawsuits and noted that their residents have already experienced more frequent flooding and beach erosion as well as the possibility that water will eventually inundate roads, airports, sewage treatment plants and other real estate.

Of course, we would love to know just how many polar bear-killing private flights these taxpayer-funded legal teams took back and forth between San Francisco and San Diego while drafting their highly practical lawsuit.

Moreover, wouldn't it be more appropriate to sue the owners of the 27 million, give or take, vehicles registered in California, more than any other state by a very wide margin by the way, who are shamelessly destroying the planet by commuting back and forth to work each day?  Afterall, if there were no demand for fossil fuels then none of these companies would exist.


Of course, the lawyers contend that the oil companies knew about the damage their actions were causing, denied it and sought to discredit scientific findings that greenhouse gas emissions were heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

The suits are just the latest in a small but growing effort to hold Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and other major energy companies accountable for the effects of climate change. Legal experts say the challenge is more comprehensive than previous endeavors, and is based on 'better climate science' and more evidence to support a claim of conspiracy among oil company executives.

“This is a long-anticipated move in climate litigation,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “You’ll find pieces of it in other cases, but bringing it together like this is different than what’s been done before. You can expect there will be a great deal of interest in how this litigation proceeds.”


“There’s tremendous concern for us as a county on how do we address these issues,” said Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears. “This case is about fairness and accountability and standing up for our residents and businesses.”


“We think we meet the elements of the public nuisance,” Beiers said, “but obviously we recognize this as the first lawsuit of its kind.”


So how much are these snowflake havens seeking in damages?  Well the exact cost of the total death and destruction that will ultimately befall America's left coast has apparently not yet been calculated with any level of specificity but it's at least $55 billion according to San Mateo and Marin counties. 

The two Bay Area counties and Imperial Beach are seeking reimbursement for current and future losses caused by climate change, as well as punitive damages. The suits don’t specify the value of losses so far, but estimate that the total will be in the billions of dollars over coming decades.


San Mateo County says the Bayshore Freeway, BART lines, San Francisco International Airport and $39 billion worth of assessed property are threatened by projected sea-level rise. Marin County counts $15.5 billion worth of North Bay real estate in harm’s way, along with ferry terminals, SMART rail tracks and Highway 101 and Interstate 580.

Of course, if you discount that $55 billion at 7%, the same rate the CalPERS uses to discount their pension obligations, for a period of 250 years to adjust for when the damages are actually expected to occur then the present value of the asserted damages is roughly $2,500Perhaps Exxon and Chevron should just split the cost and move on...