Stop sign flooded

Charleston sues 24 fossil fuel companies for costs of surviving climate change

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In 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated much of the Atlantic region, including the Caribbean islands, and much of the southeastern coast of the United States. Charleston, South Carolina was one of many American cities to pay a high human and economic cost for the disaster.

Now the South Carolinian city is suing 24 fossil fuel companies – including BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Hess Corporation, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Shell Oil – citing their significant contribution to the climate crisis and knowingly hiding the increasing risk of flood and other disasters caused by the production of their productions. According to the lawsuit, the frequency of flooding has increased drastically over the last five decades, from roughly 4 days a year to 89 days a year. The city is also now likely to incur significant costs to protect against sea-level rise, another effect of climate change caused by melting polar ice caps.

Commenting on the new lawsuit, Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg said: “These companies have known for more than 50 years that their products were going to cause the worst flooding the world has seen since Noah built the Ark. And instead of warning us, they covered up the truth and turned our flooding problems into their profits. That was wrong, and this lawsuit is all about holding them accountable for that multi-decade campaign of deception.”

Charleston becomes the first city in the American south to do and the 21st American community overall.

Is your community suing fossil fuel companies for their contribution to the climate crisis?

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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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