Honolulu to sue fossil fuel companies over 'costs' of climate change

Honolulu to sue fossil fuel companies over 'costs' of climate change
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Honolulu officials announced Tuesday that they plan to sue fossil fuel companies over their alleged role in climate change.

The lawsuit set to be filed against the companies aims to hold them “accountable for the costs and consequences” of climate change, according to Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) announced the move at a press conference, alleging that fossil fuel companies have known for decades about the impacts their businesses have on climate change. 

“We’re starting the first steps to protect our island of Oahu, our state of Hawaii and our planet,” Caldwell said, according to the local news outlet.

The move follows a similar one made by Maui County in an effort it made to seek compensation for the mounting costs of climate change.

A resolution calling for support of the lawsuit is set to go before the full city council, Hawaii News Now reported.

If the resolution passes, the city will then seek outside counsel on a contingency basis, meaning there will be no legal costs to taxpayers.

It was not immediately clear which fossil fuel companies the city of Honolulu planned to name in its lawsuit.

Josh Stanbro, Honolulu’s chief resilience officer, said the Hawaiian islands are already starting to suffer from the impacts of climate change.

“California is on fire, the Bahamas were nearly wiped off the map, and Houston has been hit by three 500-year floods in the past three years,” Stanbro said, according to the local outlet. “It is devastating to find out that big oil knew these impacts would occur as far back as the 1960s, and yet they chose to undermine the science and sow confusion instead of becoming responsible corporate citizens."

"This lawsuit won’t stop climate change from happening, but it will help pay for the protection and preparation of our citizens as climate disasters continue to come our way," he was quoted saying.