New York City’s lawsuit seeking to make several major oil companies financially responsible for dealing with climate change was dismissed by a federal judge, saying that the legal effort wasn’t permitted under the federal Clean Air Act.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. District Judge John Keenan dismissed the lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, adding that Congress and the executive branch, not courts, must tackle the issue of climate change.
“The immense and complicated problem of global warming requires a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel use with the gravity of the impending harms,” Keenan wrote in his ruling.
The lawsuit aimed to get billions of dollars from the oil companies that New York City alleged were spent helping contribute to climate change.
“The Mayor believes big polluters must be held accountable for their contributions to climate change and the damage it will cause New York City,” a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said to Bloomberg on Thursday. “We intend to appeal this decision and to keep fighting for New Yorkers who will bear the brunt of climate change.”
The oil companies praised the decision in statements reported by Bloomberg.
“The ruling reaffirms our view that climate change is a complex societal challenge that requires sound governmental policy and is not an issue for the courts.”
Exxon similarly said that climate change “should be addressed by policymakers and not by the courts,” Shell said in a statement.
“Responsible leaders should engage in an honest conversation about the policy issues of climate change rather than filing lawsuits and be vilifying the men and women who produce the reliable, affordable energy upon which we all depend,” Chevron’s statement read.
Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips stated that they recognize the role of humans in climate change and that they will continue “to manage and have successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and have integrated climate-related activities and goals into our business planning.”