City to sue fossil fuel companies in bid to hold them ‘accountable’ for climate change

Updated: Nov. 6, 2019 at 3:06 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city plans to file a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies aimed at holding them “accountable for the costs and consequences” of climate change.

Maui County previously announced similar plans, and other municipalities and states have done the same in a bid to recoup and the real and anticipated costs of a warming planet.

Oil companies have called the suits baseless.

At a news conference Tuesday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said fossil fuel companies have known for decades about the impacts of climate change.

“We’re starting the first steps to protect our island of Oahu, our state of Hawaii and our planet,” Caldwell said.

Josh Stanbro, Honolulu’s chief resilience officer, said the islands are already starting to feel the impacts of climate change.

“California is on fire, the Bahamas were nearly wiped off the map, and Houston has been hit by three 500-year floods in the past three years,” Stanbro said.

“It is devastating to find out that big oil knew these impacts would occur as far back as the 1960s, and yet they chose to undermine the science and sow confusion instead of becoming responsible corporate citizens. This lawsuit won’t stop climate change from happening, but it will help pay for the protection and preparation of our citizens as climate disasters continue to come our way.”

A resolution will be introduced to the full City Council to support the lawsuit.

The city then plans to seek outside counsel on a contingency basis, which means there will be no legal costs to taxpayers.

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