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On 'Front Lines of Climate Change,' Baltimore Lawsuit Aims to Hold 26 Fossil Fuel Companies Accountable


#1

On 'Front Lines of Climate Change,' Baltimore Lawsuit Aims to Hold 26 Fossil Fuel Companies Accountable

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Baltimore, Maryland on Friday became the latest city to file suit against major oil and gas companies, aiming to hold them accountable for the "potentially catastrophic" damage that the global climate crisis—which is largely the result of burning fossil fuels—is increasingly inflicting on coastal communities the world over.


#2

What a crock of horse pucky. What about all the people that used the fuel, aren’t they responsible?


#3

Based on what laws are these suits filled? It will be benfical to file in civil court, but it is going to be interesting proving that the oil companies knew that their emissions would cause damages such as the torrential rains. The links between emissions and increased rainfall is not direct, and while the companies may have committed fraud in the past this does not mean they knew that their emissions would cause these explicit damages. Additionally these damages are caused by the combination of multiple variables not just emissions.

Im not a fossil fuel supporter, but to just target fossil fuels because they produce emissions is highly ignorant of the law, climatology and hydrology.


#4

So, if someone sold you oatmeal with rat poison and didn’t bother to tell you, who would you sue? That’s what the oil companies did.


#5

They (oil, coal and nuclear companies) knew as early as 1973 that oil, coal and nuclear would heat the atmosphere and they hid the info… That’s collusion.


#6
  1. Please explain how nuclear energy greatly increases the heat of the atmosphere, especially considering radioactive decay has existed since the creation of the planet? (If the rate was really that great, how has life ever existed on earth over the last 4 billion years?)

  2. There is a tremendous difference between warming the atmosphere and the creation of specific weather systems that cause unprecedented amounts of rainfall in a specific location over a limited amount of time. Yes the two events are correlated, but not directly related.


#7

Each plant warms millions of gallons of water every day and the process to mine the uranium is also just another heat machine. Once turned on they require that water to keep the fuel cool even if the plant isn’t producing electricity. It won’t make a difference that I wrote this though because you’ll just try to say it doesn’t matter because those industries have convinced you otherwise. That’s not science but they have convinced most of their ‘thuthiness’.
Oh yeah, please explain how oil and coal ‘don’t’ warm the atmosphere.


#8

The carbon footprint of nuclear power is about the same as wind and solar. Making wind turbines and solar cells and supporting equipment has CO2 emissions too. But all of these (wind, solar, nuclear) emit only a tiny fraction of the CO2 produced from fossil fuel electric power. All of them have a role in a post-carbon future.


#9

Similar lawsuits in California and New York have already been dismissed. I really think a different tactic is needed. Oil companies are not at fault - they are simply meeting a demand. They would be closer to the target by suing car manufacturers instead. Or, better yet, re-engineer our transportation infrastructure so that cars are not needed at all except for certain exceptional situations. Yeah, in god-awful, freeway clogged car-madness of the DC/Baltimore area, this is going to be a major challenge.


#10

“Each plant warms millions of gallons of water every day and the process to mine the uranium is also just another heat machine.”
And this has to do with warming the atmosphere how again? Im beginning to think you don’t actually understand how CO2 increases warming or how the greenhouse effect works or how the water cycle works, or how thermodynamic equilibrium works.


#11

“Oh yeah, please explain how oil and coal ‘don’t’ warm the atmosphere.”
Is this what I said? Let’s check -

Paul Swanee1 wrote:
"The links between emissions and increased rainfall is not direct, and while the companies may have committed fraud in the past this does not mean they knew that their emissions would cause these explicit damages. "

“There is a tremendous difference between warming the atmosphere and the creation of specific weather systems that cause unprecedented amounts of rainfall in a specific location over a limited amount of time. Yes the two events are correlated, but not directly related.”

How you managed to look at these paragraphs and deduct that I believe CO2 emission don’t warm the atmosphere leads me to believe that you don’t understand the English language.


Let me ask you something to see if you understand how meteorology works, If the troposphere is very warm in a particular area does this automatically guarantee that the location will experience unprecedented amounts of rainfall over a few hours?


#12

Pollute and rake in the billions while being immune to the consequences. American capitalism in a nutshell. Bleed those suckers dry until death.


#13

Let me explain first that I was WRONG in my interpretation of what you said, I do respectfully apologize. I got onto a tangent which suggests to me that I was rambling too late at night. By what you’ve said we are actually, very much on the same page. Some these atmospheric processes I do understand a bit. I didn’t mean to sound harsh at any point and I want in the future to act in response rather than reaction, OK? Have a good evening, truly.


#14

The greater issue as was my initial point, is that describing scientific matters into law can be quite difficult. Yes emitting CO2 increases warming, which in turn increases the risk of such flooding events in Baltimore. However, convicting a company even in civil court can be quite difficult due to both science and law.

  1. You have to prove that the company committed actions that led to the creation of the event. There is evidence of this occurring, so you are on the right track.

  2. You have to prove that the actions had a significant influence on the creation of the event. This is where the issues begin. It is very difficult to prove that CO2 emissions lead to the creation of singular events. Yes we know it increases the rate of warming, and warming can lead to more drastic conditions. However, you have to prove that the emissions played a significant role in the creation of this specific storm, which is very difficult, because weather does not rely soley on heat.

  3. You have to prove the defendant’s argument wrong. There are many ways that fossil fuel companies can defend themselves, but as an example a company could easily question the validity that their company caused any more significant damages than the City of Baltimore has already caused by removing a necessary environment to create proper runoff and absorption into the soil. Large cities have a considerable problem with this, because the city has been developed over decades largely without hydrology in mind.

  4. Additionally youre going to face an issue, because this suit is against companies that don’t necessarily have a significant presence in the city compared to other industries that also produce greenhouse gases. There is no precedent of suing a company in civil court for the global actions that may incur an externalized cost, which leads us to an even larger problem.

  5. There is no existing precedent for the type of ruling this city is demanding. For a case of this magnitude most likely we will eventually have to hear cases in the supreme court or international court in order to create a firm grasp on legality of these suits. It becomes especially difficult, because we already have federal laws that allow certain amounts of emissions, and this is not a federal case- meaning that presiding law is in fact the existing/ was existing Clean Air Act. Without any other precedent you are essentially suing a company for obeying a law you don’t quite agree with (even if you may think it is the right action, it has no legal basis and thus no judge is likely to favor such an argument)


#15

“Just target” fossil fuels . . . ?

The oil industry knew and campaigned to lie to the public – to the world’s citizens – about Global Warming and the damage it would do.

They well knew the model for Global Warming, how it would work.

There were a few who asked about pollution and damage to the planet – but they knew that no one could be held financially responsible.

What was our planet worth to us – presumably a $$$$$$$ must be pasted on it.

ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and a few others ran a $50 BILLION dollar campaign over 50 years – 50 years – to LIE to the American public.

It’s all there – they knew.

And, likely, it was one of the reasons for the JFK assassination … an honest man had come to town and wanted to tell us about the “alien presence” and the damage being done to our planet by pollution, by atomic bombs being dropped and by weapons’ testing.

How about domestication of animals – billions killed every year based in a LIE that humans need to eat animals to be healthy!

Same kind of lies which has harmed generations of children who have not been breast fed because Elites recognized the power of breastfeeding and the link with the mother – and the value of it to the child. They long knew they needed to create harm in order to create profits. Too much to believe at that time? Is it still to much to believe that the greedy among us – the money worshipers – will kill us for a dime?

Illness creates profits – just look at our world today of newly created diseases due to pollution of the planet.

Vaccines – what are they doing to your children?
We have a new generation of children effected by Autism which parallels Schizophrenia in the harm done to the brain.

NO ONE CAN PASS ON TO THEIR CHILDREN THE ALLEGED IMMUNITY FROM VACCINES THEY ARE GIVEN.

This filthy concept has actually destroyed the “Herd Immunity” that Americans had based in our all being exposed to childhood diseases and recovering from them and thereby gaining true lifelong immunity.

Let’s also remember that the Native American here were severely impacted because they had NO immunity to those diseases the invaders brought with them – because they were a healthier people without those diseases.


#16

If you want to sue fossil fuels for committing fraud that’s fine and legal, and you may even get a settlement. However that’s not what this case is about. This suit is not just about fraud though. This suit is alleging that the emissions from these companies led to creation and damages experienced from a 1,000 year flood.

A national campaign in 1970 is not evidence that these companies lied about the possibility of the creation and damages experienced on May 27, 2018 in Maryland.

Yes CO2 emissions increase warming, which in turn leads to an increase in risk for all kinds of scenarios. However, companies are going to argue that pinpointing the exact risk of a specific event in a specific place at a specific time, when the cause is meteorological has no existing evidence. Yes there are studies being done to prove the viability of claims that emissions over time increase risk by x for this specific event, but currently there is no evidence for this case that proves this to be true. As a result in following the existing law it is extremely unlikely that this suit will ever win, until new evidence comes to light.

Please see my early comment where I list out problems for this suit and why it is likely to keep failing.


#17

“Vaccines – what are they doing to your children?”
When you say crazy stupid crap like this everyone is going to ignore you fyi.

“Let’s also remember that the Native American here were severely impacted because they had NO immunity to those diseases the invaders brought with them – because they were a healthier people without those diseases.”
Native Americans depending on area had varying levels of life expectancy, but to suggest that humanity at any time in history was healthier before modern medicine is stupendously inaccurate. Furthermore the first vaccine was developed centuries before plagues destroyed native American populations of the 1500-1600s. The smallpox vaccine didn’t exist until 1796, so not quite sure how you think a vaccine developed in 1796 killed hundreds of thousands of people 200 years earlier.


#18

Paul –

DOCUMENTATION PROVES THAT THE OIL INDUSTRY KNEW.

And their campaign came under attack about 15 years ago by the Royal Academy of Science which called for them to STOP.

The actual campaign began at least by the 1960’s – but likely by 1957 when the Model of Global Warming was introduced to the public.

American scientists also recognized immediately the harm being done by the 1880’s by the Industrial Revolution.

American corporations also argued that they knew nothing about tobacco creating cancer. They’ve lied all along about the harmful effects of pollution on our planet – from RoundUp to nuclear rain/nuclear fall out.

The public will no longer support capitalism or the lies of capitalists to fill their own pockets with dollars.

Corporate-fascism is the problem and it’s never too late for the public to rise up against it. This is one way to do – there are many other ways.


#19

Paul –

You might notice that it is YOU being ignored –

Tell us all how a MOTHER passes on the alleged immunities to childhood diseases that she received allegedly from vaccines?

Modern medicine and pollution of the planet have done nothing but make populations sick – for profit.


#20

“Tell us all how a MOTHER passes on the alleged immunities to childhood diseases that she received allegedly from vaccines?”

Vaccines are devices that are used to treat biological threats to the human body. Passing on alleged immunities is genetics, which is completely different from the sole purpose of vaccines.

You don’t pass on immunities to disease unless that disease is heredity, hence the entire reason we have childhood vaccinations. If someone is claiming that a vaccination’s effects can pass onto their offspring they are claiming that vaccinations can alter your genes, which is not correct. If your mother is passing a “cure” so to speak for a disease onto you that simply means that your genetic chromosomal coding does not contain traits that are likely to form the disease in the first place.

Now there are specific types of vaccinations that could alter one’s DNA, but 1. They are not currently used on humans 2. You don’t inoculate children with them. 3. They are the leading edge of medicine today- in other words not at all what you are talking about.