Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Boulder Sues Exxon over Climate Change:  Wildfires, Droughts and Water Are a Few Reasons Why

The Colorado city and two counties are suing oil companies Exxon and Suncor over the costs of climate change.  They’re already dealing with the damage.

A wildfire near Boulder, Colorado, in 2010 burned more than 160 homes in the first 12 hours and caused millions of dollars in losses. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
In Boulder, Colorado, climate change means extreme weather and wildfires.  It means worrying about water security for people and farms, and about heat waves and mosquito-borne diseases.  These aren't just future risks—they're problems the city and its surrounding county are facing now.

On Tuesday the city and Boulder County joined San Miguel County, home to the ski slopes of Telluride, in suing two fossil fuel companies—ExxonMobil and Suncor—over the costs of dealing with climate change.

Their lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions by communities that are attempting to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the problems climate change creates.  Until now, the plaintiffs had been coastal cities and counties worried primarily about sea level rise.

The new case takes climate litigation to the middle of the country, where the risks take on new shapes and high costs.

The Colorado communities are already seeing climate-related damage to property, health and safety, and "the damage will only multiply as climate change worsens," the lawsuit says.

It points to the dwindling snowpack, which is critical for the state's agriculture, water supply, and $5 billion ski industry.  (This month, the snowpack in the mountains of southern Colorado was less than 50 percent of normal.)  It also raises concerns about the loss of water flow into the Colorado River, and about extreme summer heat, wildfires, and droughts.  (San Miguel County, like much of the Four Corners region, is facing extreme drought conditions.)

Read more at Boulder Sues Exxon over Climate Change:  Wildfires, Droughts and Water Are a Few Reasons Why

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