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Oakland Climate Change Lawsuit

City of Oakland appeals trial court ruling, continues fight against fossil fuel companies that lied to customers about the severe danger of climate change

In 2017, Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed separate lawsuits on behalf of their respective cities against the five largest investor-owned producers of fossil fuels in the world.

The lawsuits asked the courts to hold these companies responsible for the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure necessary to protect Oakland and San Francisco from ongoing and future consequences of climate change and sea level rise caused by the companies’ production of massive amounts of fossil fuels.

The defendant companies – Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell – knew for decades that fossil fuel-driven global warming and accelerated sea level rise posed a catastrophic risk to human beings and to public and private property. Despite that knowledge, the companies continued to aggressively produce, market and sell vast quantities of fossil fuels for a global market, while engaging in an organized campaign to deceive consumers about the dangers of massive fossil fuel production.

Oakland has appealed the trial court's dismissal of its lawsuit.

We believe our lawsuit presents valid claims under California law. California law is clear that companies cannot lie to their customers about the danger of their products and then walk away with impunity. We are committed to ensuring that the defendants pay the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure necessary to protect Oakland from the ongoing and future consequences of climate change and sea level rise they caused.

More information

Sea Rise Map Oakland
Oakland coastline showing eight feet of sea level rise.

Oakland Complaint

Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG17875889

Oakland First Amended Complaint for Public Nuisance

Other Plaintiff Filings

States' Motion for Leave to File Amicus in Support of Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (May 3, 2018)

Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (May 3, 2018)

Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Shell Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (May 3, 2018)

Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Exxon Mobil Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (May 3, 2018)

Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to BP Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (May 3, 2018)

Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to ConocoPhillips Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (May 3, 2018)

Court Tutorials

Understanding Climate Emissions
Myles Allen, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Sea Level Rise and the San Francisco Bay Shoreline
Gary Griggs, Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

A Tutorial on Climate Change Science: the 4th National Climate Assessment
Don Wuebbles, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Reference Documents

Answers to Questions Posed by Judge Alsup
Don Wuebbles, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Rising Seas in California
An Update on Sea Level Rise Science, April 2017