The city of New York has launched lawsuits against the five biggest oil companies in the world: BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell. The city officials claim that because those firms created 11% of all global-warming gasses they are partly responsible for the costs of protecting the city against climate change.
In doing so, the city of New York follows similar suits launched by several Californian cities and counties last year.
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that these companies are well aware of the problem and have tried to obscure the consequences.
New York corporation counsel Mr Zachary Carter filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In his opening remarks, he states: “In this litigation, the City seeks to shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.”
The total amount in damages sought by the city of New York amounts to $20bn.
Texas company ExxonMobil reacted harshly to the news, saying that this one, just as the lawsuits in California brings “potential claims of abuse of process, civil conspiracy, and constitutes a violation of ExxonMobil’s civil rights.”
Ms Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs, stated it more clearly, when she said: “ExxonMobil welcomes any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change.”
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue and requires global participation and actions. Lawsuits of this kind, filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life, simply do not do that.”
Meanwhile Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall reacted by stating: “This lawsuit is factually and legally meritless.”
The two other defendants named, BP and ConocoPhillips, have so for abstained from any comment.