Baltimore Joins Wave of Cities Seeking to Recover Climate Damages

WASHINGTON - Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and city Solicitor Andre M. Davis today announced a lawsuit against oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil for knowingly producing products that caused climate change, more frequent and extreme heat waves, droughts and heavy precipitation. You can find the complaint here.

Baltimore’s lawsuit, which comes just hours after New York City’s lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court in New York makes it clear that efforts to hold climate polluters accountable are still gaining momentum.

Below you’ll find a statement from Richard Wiles, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Integrity, in response to the news:

“Baltimore’s filing is the next in a growing wave of climate liability lawsuits. We expect that communities across the country will continue to seek remedies in the courts to ensure that climate polluters, not taxpayers, pay the massive costs of climate adaptation.

“Taxpayers in Baltimore can no longer afford to foot the bill for damages knowingly caused by climate polluters, nor should they have to.

“The catastrophic impacts of climate change predicted by companies like Exxon decades ago have arrived. It’s only fitting then that the wave of lawsuits the industry have long feared and planned for have as well. The people of Baltimore deserve their day in court.”

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Info on current climate impact litigation in the United States:

Colorado

  • April 2018: The city of Boulder, Boulder County, and San Miguel County sues ExxonMobil and Suncor for climate impacts that have exacerbated wildfires, drought, floods, and other impacts. (Legal filing can be found here).

California

  • January 2018: Richmond, CA sues 29 oil and gas companies for climate impacts, including sea level rise (More info can be found here).
  • December 2017: Santa Cruz sues 29 oil and gas companies for climate impacts, including drought and wildfires (Legal filing can be found here).
  • September 2017: San Francisco & Oakland sue five big oil companies over threat of climate change (Legal filings can be found here).
  • July 2017: Imperial Beach and San Mateo and Marin Counties sue oil companies over threat rising sea level poses to their communities. (Legal filings can be found here).

New York City

  • January 2018: New York City sues five oil and gas companies for climate damages (More info can be found here).

Rhode Island

  • July 2018: Rhode Island’s State Attorney General Peter Kilmartin filed suit against oil and gas companies for climate impacts like sea level rise. (Legal filing can be found here).

Washington State

  • May 2018: King County sued 5 oil and gas companies for climate impacts, seeking to create an abatement fund to help pay for adaptation efforts related to stormwater management, salmon recovery, public health, among other impacts (Legal filing can be found here).
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