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City of New York v BP, Chevron, Exxon and others, legal complaint as filed 9 January 2018

Geographic relevance: Global
United States

Language: English

Data type: Legal references

Publication details: United States District Court, Southern Distrcit of New York Case 1:18-cv-00182-JFK2018

About this resource:

This is the complaint in an  important lawsuit filed in New York by the City of New York against a number of major oil companies. It seeks to hold them liable in respect of the cost of sea level rise/flood defences for the city, based on their conduct is causing or encouraging large scale emissions.

This is not the first time that attempts have been made to hold fossil fuel producers accountable for climate change change damage and there were a number of unsuccessful attempts in the first decade of this century, mainly in the USA.

This case is however important for a number of reasons even though the basic allegations are similar to those made before. The legal claims involved are those of tort, public nuisance, private nuisance and trespass. A number of new allegations are made about the knowledge of the major oil producers about climate risks, in the light of recent investigations and disclosures, and reliance is placed on recent scientific work attributing percentage shares of global emissions to particular companies.In particular by reference to the paragraph numbers in the complaint, [33-51] contain  detailed allegations about the up-to-date evidence on actual and future effects of climate change, particularly on coastal cities such as New York with details both on temperature and flooding/sea level rise,  [63-75] deal with knowledge of major oil companies of risks inherent in climate change caused by emissions from the 1970s/1980s. [76-99] make allegations that the defendants misled the public about climate change whilst promoting the use of fossil fuels. [100-114] address the scale of cost in protecting the City against climate change. [115-135] set out the legal bases for alleging public nuisance, private nuisance and trespass

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