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May 26, 2018

Inside the climate change lawsuit pitting Big Oil against San Francisco and Oakland

On May 24th, the line outside of Courtroom 12 at the United States District Court in San Francisco was dense enough that two lawyers behind me worried they wouldn’t get seats. So, they jumped ahead in the line to witness the latest volley in San Francisco and Oakland’s fight against the fossil fuel industry.

The two cities are suing five major oil companies in an effort to hold them financially responsible for their role in global warming. The oil companies — Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP — don’t deny that climate change is happening, but they do argue that they can’t be sued for it. And that’s what Thursday’s hearing in front of Judge William Alsup was about: whether the case should be dismissed.

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