Rising Seas Spark Tobacco-Style Lawsuits in California

In Climate, Community & Activism, Fossil Fuels, News by

All those years of fossil fuel companies obfuscating data are finally coming home to the legal roost as municipalities and other affected parties are starting to file lawsuits similar to those filed against tobacco companies.

Several flood-prone municipalities in California filed first-of-their-kind lawsuits against fossil fuel companies this week as they attempt to recoup the cost of coping with rising seas.

The suits point to indisputable climate science and decades of industry efforts to mar that science. Experts likened the legal complaints to those brought against the tobacco industry in decades past, which succeeded by alleging the use of anti-science tactics to mask the dangers of their products.

High tide flooding in the city of Sausalito in California’s Marin County, which is suing energy companies over rising seas.
Credit: secretivemarshbird/Flickr

Until we factor in the social and environmental costs of using fossil fuels into their prices, the question of who will pay for the damage will linger.