The governing body of an county is seeking substantial compensation from Shell and other companies for the consequences of climate change. According to the prosecutor, these companies deliberately sowed doubt about the climate issue through PR campaigns and dubious scientific claims.
The district surrounding the city of Portland believes that these companies should dig into their pockets. They should contribute to measures aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming. This includes the money citizens have to spend on air conditioning, as well as the costs incurred to combat wildfires.
Two years ago, the Multnomah County region experienced an extreme heatwave. Temperatures rose above 45 degrees Celsius, significantly higher than normal. During this heatwave, 69 people lost their lives. The local government fears that there will be even more damage in the coming years due to global warming.
Not only Shell, but also oil companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron have been taken to court. Additionally, coal companies and interest groups are facing legal action.
The district is demanding $50 million as compensation for the costs already incurred. There is also a claim for $1.5 billion for future damages. On top of that, the governing body is seeking an additional $50 billion. This money is intended to be deposited into a fund for research into ways to mitigate climate warming. Some of the funds will also be allocated to the implementation of environmental measures.
Oil companies consider the lawsuit counterproductive. According to the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade association, the lawsuit is pointless and only leads to the waste of taxpayer money. A lawyer from Chevron describes the allegations made by the local government as unfounded and counterproductive.
There have been several lawsuits in the United States holding oil companies accountable for the consequences of climate change. In places like New York, the local government has filed lawsuits against Shell, ExxonMobil, and BP, among others.