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New York City files climate change lawsuit against oil companies

[JURIST] New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio [official website] on Wednesday announced a lawsuit [complaint] against BP, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corporation and Royal Dutch Shell [corporate websites] for their role in climate change.

Extensive quantities of greenhouse gasses (GHGs), specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), have been emitted through production, marketing, and selling of fossil fuels—primarily natural gas and oil. The complaint asserts that these companies produce a product that causes severe harm with intended use and should therefore be held liable for all of the costs associated with those harms. The city also notes that each defendant knew of the harms and risks associating with the production of fossil fuels such as GHG's remaining in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, which allegedly lead to climate change or global warning.

The city alleges they have suffered damages from these productions through inundation, erosion, and regular tidal flooding. But there is also a claim that future harms are imminent, posing a threat to infrastructure and public health and safety of citizens. The city seeks to put the burden of costs back onto the corporations for the implementation of new policies to reduce fossil fuel production.

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