Los Angeles could join New York City and other California cities in a lawsuit targeting Exxon Mobil for supposedly contributing to global warming and rising sea levels.
Two Los Angeles city council members want the city to use the courts to fleece fossil-fuel producers to mitigate the effects of global warming. They are hoping to join the likes of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced earlier this month that his city will take Exxon to court.
“We’re getting rising sea levels, wildfires, mudslides — that’s the implication of climate change right there,” Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin told the Los Angeles Times during a Jan. 11 interview. “That does damage to our infrastructure. It just has some wide-ranging and comprehensive implications.”
Los Angeles joins San Francisco and Oakland, among other California cities, in arguing that oil companies should help pay for the cost of addressing rising seas in San Francisco Bay. But de Blasio and the state of New York are the real leaders instigating waves of lawsuits against Exxon.
De Blasio also pledged to divest the city’s pension fund from fossil fuels over the next five years.
“As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient,” he said in a statement following the move.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, meanwhile, has spent the past two years investigating Exxon for supposedly duping investors about the company’s knowledge about climate change. He believes the company has hidden knowledge about climate change from the public for decades.
Exxon, for its part, rebutted some of Schneiderman’s primary claims last year, namely that the oil company purposely hid knowledge about the supposedly secret account from the attorney general, who filed a subpoena against Exxon earlier this year to gather the company’s email communications.
The company has lambasted the New York Democrat in the past. Schneiderman refuses to produce emails between his office and wealthy donors — including Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer — Exxon claims because he wants to protect the groups that are backing the campaign.
City lawyers claimed during the lawsuit phase that “Exxon sponsored its own bogus scientific research by paying $120,000 over the course of two years” to the Fraser Institute, a conservative Canadian think tank.
Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph and the man at the heart of their complaint, took issue with New York City’s false statements and wrote a lengthy rebuttal.
“The Fraser Institute was not involved with the hockey stick project and to the best of my knowledge they knew nothing about it until after it was published,” he wrote in a statement published online. “While I was a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute in 2003-04 this was an unpaid affiliation.”
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