A tale of two cities: whose sea rise is it anyway?

Posted: September 22, 2017 by oldbrew in climate, Legal, sea levels

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point, San Francisco

Some may say this smacks of an attempt at extortion, but the oil companies can at least afford the fees of the lawyers. Can it be a punishable offence to lack confidence in some of the claims of some climate scientists?

Two Northern California cities filed separate lawsuits against five major oil companies Wednesday, asking state courts to force the companies to fund infrastructure the cities say is needed because of climate change.

The suits, filed by San Francisco and Oakland in state Superior Court, are among the first in which plaintiffs are seeking to force companies to pay for infrastructure to protect coastal cities from potential damages caused by rising sea levels.

The cities are asking for the oil companies to pay for sea walls and other infrastructure projects, the cost of which aren’t yet known, according to the cities, but are expected to be in the billions of dollars, they said.

Scientists have linked rising sea levels to the burning of fossil fuels and warming global temperatures.

The cases open a new front in a yearslong effort by environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and municipalities to hold big oil companies accountable for the societal costs of climate change.

Plaintiffs in a number of lawsuits or investigations have argued companies knew or should have known about the potential impacts of burning fossil fuels, but instead made efforts to sow doubt about the science behind global warming.

The companies dispute those allegations.

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    USGS: Sea Level and Climate

    As the climate has warmed following the end of a recent cold period known as the “Little Ice Age” in the 19th century, sea level has been rising about 1 to 2 millimeters per year due to the reduction in volume of ice caps, ice fields, and mountain glaciers in addition to the thermal expansion of ocean water.
    . . .
    Climate-related sea-level changes of the last century are very minor compared with the large changes in sea level that occur as climate oscillates between the cold and warm intervals that are part of the Earth’s natural cycle of long-term climate change.


  2. ewing.caldwell says:

    The companies dispute those allegations.


    And so they should. This paper rather usefully demonstrates atmospheric gas properties, and concludes that AGW “is a phantasm.”

  3. If I remember correctly these two cities are located in a tectonically active region. So if there is much relative change in sea level how do these cities propose to partition the change into land subsidence and sea level rise?

  4. Curious George says:

    Now that’s an idea. California is building a high speed train from nowhere to nowhere at an unknown cost in billions – buy it does not have money. Why not sue people who have money (because they know how to do business) first?

  5. another jim says:

    Is it posible that the oil companies sued will close operations in Cal, and close down gas sales?

  6. ivan says:

    How many millimetres do they expect the sea to rise, or more to the point what is the figure they have been brainwashed to believe?

    We know this is stupid but we should also remember this is the state of the green loons with their ‘saving the world’ mentality.

  7. – there has been almost no SLR on the California coast for decades, due to an increase in tradewind speeds. For instance, here is the gauge for Alameda (which is right next to Oakland)

    – some percent of the world SLR has been natural. A couple of years I argued with an oceanographer on this point. We agreed AGW SLR would show up as acceleration. I argued that this acceleration was not in the stable tide gauges. He disagreed, saying there had been some in the satellite era (from 1mm to 3mm, as I recall). ie, he thought since 1979 67% was AGW, and 33% natural.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Local conditions are bound to vary. Some areas have naturally rising or sinking land, for example.

  9. My point was, those cities have not been damaged (yet). That alone should make any court throw out the suit “with prejudice”, as they say. Meaning, identical cases cannot be filed.

  10. oldmanK says:

    Most of the sea level changes have already taken place. Someone is missing the woods for the trees. See here: https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/gornitz_09/

  11. Streetcred says:

    If they hadn’t pizzed their money up against the wall chasing climate change, they’d have enough to meet their infrastructure obligations.

  12. oldbrew says:

    by The Elephant’s Child
    September 22, 2017

    California City attorneys in San Francisco and Oakland (just across the bridge) have sued five oil companies, BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobile, and Royal Dutch Shell. They are suing them under California law for being a public nuisance.
    . . .
    The climate cult believes. Those who are prospering from fostering panic about the threat to the planet have federal grants, new equipment for their labs, enhanced salaries, assistants, and the eager attention of reporters as well as a yearly trip to some resort for a big climate conference. This is very big business.


    ‘just across the bridge’ – the Oakland Bay Bridge that is, not the Golden Gate.

  13. oldbrew says:

    @ Hank

    The suspicion must be that the plaintiffs hope to get money out of these oil giants without ever going to court.
    ‘Be good boys and pay up, or else…’ – type of thing.

  14. ivan says:

    oldbrew, doesn’t that extortion come under RICO?

  15. oldbrew says:

    RICO laws are for use against criminals – so the judges have to decide.

  16. stpaulchuck says:

    “from potential damages”
    and in normal law there is NO case until there is actual damage. Let’s see if the judge is a proper reader of the law or another pirate in black robes raping any source of money for pie in the sky projects.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Unfortunately, the port of Alviso at the south endcof the bay, where Liberty Ships sailed in W.W. II is now a park and marsh, impassible by water.

    Sea level rise? No way. Dirt rise maybe.