» Notable Cases

Oakland Climate Change Lawsuit

City of Oakland sues top five oil and gas companies to make them pay the cost of protecting human life and property from climate change

On September 19, 2017, Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed separate lawsuits on behalf of their respective cities against the five largest investor-owned producers of fossil fuels in the world.

The lawsuits ask the courts to hold these companies responsible for the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure necessary to protect Oakland and San Francisco from ongoing and future consequences of climate change and sea level rise caused by the companies’ production of massive amounts of fossil fuels.

The defendant companies – Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell – have known for decades that fossil fuel-driven global warming and accelerated sea level rise posed a catastrophic risk to human beings and to public and private property, especially in coastal cities like San Francisco and Oakland. Despite that knowledge, the companies continued to aggressively produce, market and sell vast quantities of fossil fuels for a global market, while engaging in an organized campaign to deceive consumers about the dangers of massive fossil fuel production.

More information

Sea Rise Map Oakland
Oakland coastline showing eight feet of sea level rise.

Plaintiff Court Documents & Tutorials

Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG17875889

San Francisco County Superior Court Case No. CGC-17-561370

Oakland First Amended Complaint for Public Nuisance

Understanding Climate Emissions
Myles Allen, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Sea Level Rise and the San Francisco Bay Shoreline
Gary Griggs, Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

A Tutorial on Climate Change Science: the 4th National Climate Assessment
Don Wuebbles, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Reference Documents

Answers to Questions Posed by Judge Alsup
Don Wuebbles, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Rising Seas in California
An Update on Sea Level Rise Science, April 2017