City of Hoboken Files Climate Suit Against Big Oil: Exxon, Shell, More
By Kenny Stancil
The city of Hoboken on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against multiple Big Oil players—including ExxonMobil, incorporated in New Jersey—joining an increasing number of state and local governments using litigation in efforts to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for defrauding the public about foreseen climate crisis damages and to make companies "pay their fair share" of the costs of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a warming planet.
The lawsuit argues that the defendants—ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, and the American Petroleum Institute—knew that "their production, marketing, and sale of fossil fuels would cause global climate change," but they engaged in a massive "disinformation campaign" to protect their profits, which would diminish in conjunction with decreased fossil fuel use.
Big Oil began redesigning its own assets to adapt to rising sea levels at the same time it was "telling the world that climate change was a hoax," the lawsuit states.
According to the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), Hoboken is the 20th community to take fossil fuel giants to court to "recover billions of dollars in damages caused by the oil and gas industry's deception about climate change."
Richard Wiles, executive director of CCI, said in a statement that "with climate costs surging everywhere and local budgets depleted, more and more communities are turning to the courts as their only recourse to make polluters pay for their fair share of the wreckage they knew their products would cause."
Exxon and their co-conspirators can't run from this growing wave of climate lawsuits. Thanks to Hoboken, for the first time, Exxon will have to defend its shameful record of climate damages, disinformation, and denial on its home turf. It takes guts to sue the most ruthless, deceitful, and unapologetic climate polluters on the planet. Hoboken's elected leaders should be applauded.
According to local reporters, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla's announcement of the legal action came one month after "the low-lying city suffered two flooding events that theoretically should have occurred once in 50 years."
In addition, residents remember the devastating impact that Superstorm Sandy had in 2012, when a 14-foot storm surge overwhelmed outdated sewer systems to cause over $100 million in damage in the city.
At Wednesday morning's press conference, Bhalla described his intentions to get Hoboken off the list of coastal communities at risk of becoming inundated within the next five decades.
The mayor said:
At the same time we've invested hundreds of millions of dollars adapting to the realities of climate change, Big Oil companies have engaged in a decades long campaign of misinformation that has contributed to global warming which has disproportionately impacted our residents. We cannot stand idly by and allow Big Oil to continue profiting at the expense of Hoboken residents. It's time these companies pay their fair share and be held accountable for their actions.
Over the past decade and in response to rising sea levels, Hoboken has invested $140 million in climate change adaptation, including several projects that are part of its Rebuild by Design comprehensive water management strategy, according to a statement from the city.
Hoboken's lawsuit aims to "recover funds to pay for the costs that the city is undertaking, and will undertake as a result of the substantial impacts of climate change, which has been exacerbated by Big Oil."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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