Del. sues oil companies over climate change (Brandon Holveck)

News Journal – The suit announced by Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings was filed against 31 fossil fuel companies; the American Petroleum Institute is also named in the lawsuit. The basic theory of the case is reportedly that the companies engaged in “a decades-long coordinated campaign to mislead the public” about “the role their products play in causing climate change and damaging the state’s environment.” It is alleged in the complaint that the companies “have known for more than 50 years that pollution caused by their products would adversely impact the Earth’s climate and sea level.” The requested relief: compensation for current and future damages plus penalties of $10,000 for “each instance in which the defendants violated the Consumer Fraud Act since the mid- 20th century.”

According to AG Jennings, this suit is not about stopping climate change but rather Delaware’s survival (being the lowest-lying US state, etc.). A boilerplate claim is reported re a purported connection between “climate change” (i.e., global warming) and “an increase of greenhouse gas pollution and increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past several decades.” Sea level rise - more frequent and intense precipitation events – more heat waves and droughts.

Also quoted or cited: (1) DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “This is something we’re seeing right now.” (2) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Oceans could rise from 2 to 7.1 feet by 2100. (3) State officials: Previous estimate that 8% to 11% of the state’s land could be underwater by 2100. (4) Nonprofit First Street Foundation: nearly 11,000 more properties at risk of flooding than FEMA maps indicate. (5) Unidentified source: 2019 marked the end of Delaware’s hottest decade on record.

Comments are quoted from several oil industry sources, e.g., an Exxon-Mobil representative who characterized the suit as baseless and without merit. “Legal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change. ExxonMobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy.”

Similar suits have been filed by other states or cities, including a federal suit by New York City that was dismissed on grounds that “climate change must be addressed through federal regulation and foreign policy.” AG Jennings would reportedly distinguish the DE claim on grounds that (a) Delaware’s plight is more extreme, and (b) the DE claim is “a straightforward damages suit” that should be decided at the state level. “Right now the cost of climate change is being borne by us, the taxpayers", and “that’s not right.”

It’s hard to see this lawsuit as a reasonable project for the DE Attorney General’s office. No one has scientifically proven the Manmade Global Warming Theory. Furthermore, no one has identified and committed to support a viable alternative to fossil fuel energy sources for running the US economy or powering the nation’s motor vehicles. Proposed solutions for global warming, 9/7/20.
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