Boulder, Colorado and Boulder and San Miguel Counties filed suit in state court this week against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy. The suit claims that petroleum products sold by the companies contribute to climate change and that leads to all sorts of bad things—such as droughts, wildfires, and severe storms—that affect tourism and agriculture in the city and two counties.
“Our communities and our taxpayers should not shoulder the cost of climate change adaptation alone. These companies need to pay their fair share,” said Boulder mayor Suzanne Jones, according to The New York Times. John Schwartz, the Times’s reporter, goes on to note that this case and similar suits brought by local governments in California “could mean billions of dollars in damages.”
The cases are ridiculous, but unfortunately the big oil companies conceded much of the scientific case to the global warming alarmists years ago. They now find themselves in real legal jeopardy. As my CEI colleague Chris Horner explained in a Western Wire story by Michael Sandoval, the aim is not to win the suits, but to settle, “hopefully for a large pot of money.”
In an amusing twist, David Bookbinder of the Niskanen Center, a pretend-libertarian group, is going to help represent the Colorado communities. Bookbinder formerly served as the Sierra Club’s chief climate counsel. The Niskanen Center has recently received many hundreds of thousands of dollars from left-wing foundations.