In a blow to activists seeking a way to hold big oil companies accountable for the damaging effects of global warming, a federal judge dismissed a pair of groundbreaking climate change lawsuits on Monday brought by two California cities against several major oil firms.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who had ordered a first-of-its-kind climate change “tutorial” earlier this year to help him understand issues raised by the suits, said in a lengthy ruling that he “fully accepts the vast scientific consensus” that fossil fuels have contributed to increasing temperatures and rising sea levels. But he said the problem was simply too massive — and too global in scope — for just one “district judge or jury” to solve…
“This is obviously not the ruling we wanted, but this doesn’t mean the case is over,” John Coté, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney, said in a statement.
He added that the city was “pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute.”
“Our litigation forced a public court proceeding on climate science, and now these companies can no longer deny it is real and valid,” Coté said. “Our belief remains that these companies are liable for the harm they’ve caused.”