Date: Friday, April 25, 2023
Complete Article: The Guardian
The decision, climate experts and advocates said, felt “like a dam breaking” after years of legal delays to the growing wave of climate lawsuits facing major oil companies.
Without weighing in on the merits of the cases, the supreme court on Monday rebuffed an appeal by major oil companies that want to face the litigation in federal courts, rather than in state courts, which are seen as more favorable to plaintiffs.
Six years have passed since the first climate cases were filed in the US, and courts have not yet heard the merits of the cases as fossil fuel companies have succeeded in delaying them.
The cases have been compared to tobacco lawsuits in the 1990s that resulted in a settlement of more than $200bn and changed how cigarettes are advertised and sold in the US.
“There’s real impacts that are happening now, and that’s why it’s so important for these cases to have the opportunity to be heard, and have a chance for justice”
If the lawsuits are successful, they could limit the fossil fuel industry’s ability to greenwash and lie to consumers. Rulings against the companies could also reinforce banking industry concerns that fossil fuels are a risky investment.
Recent studies have shown that Exxon accurately predicted that its products would cause climate change.