US court dismisses climate change lawsuits against top oil companies

  • A California federal court dismissed climate change lawsuits against five oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.
  • The court said the complaints required foreign and domestic policy decisions that were outside the purview of courts, Chevron said.

A California federal court dismissed climate change lawsuits against five oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, saying the complaints required foreign and domestic policy decisions that were outside the purview of courts, Chevron said on Monday.

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California sued Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and BP last year, seeking an abatement fund to help the cities address flooding they say is a result of climate change.

The dangers raised by the complainants are real and worldwide, and that both parties accepted the science behind global warming, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said in the ruling.

"(However), the problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a District Judge or jury in a public nuisance case," Judge Alsup said.

A Shell spokeswoman said the company regards climate change to be a complex problem, which is not an issue for the courts but requires sound government policy.

BP did not have an immediate comment, while ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil were not available for comment outside regular business hours.