At least five of the world’s largest oil companies can rest easy after a federal judge in California on Monday dismissed lawsuits by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.
The cities sued to force the companies to pay to protect residents of the impacts of climate change.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted the motion to dismiss filed by BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron Corp.
The judge ruled that while global warming is a real threat, it has to be fixed “by our political branches.”
“The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide,” he wrote. “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.”
His ruling was a blow to other cities that sought to follow the actions of San Francisco and Oakland. Other suits have been filed by New York City and local governments in Colorado, California and Washington.
They contend the oil and gas companies created a public nuisance by producing fossil fuels they knew would create harmful emissions.