At its annual conference, the United States Conference of Mayors adopted Resolution 65, which supports cities’ rights and efforts to mitigate climate change damages and protect taxpayers from related adaptation costs. Santa Cruz Mayor Martine Watkins co-sponsored the Resolution.
This Resolution puts the US Conference of Mayors on record opposing any legislation, whether in Congress or state legislatures, that attempts to limit or eliminate cities’ access to the courts by overriding existing laws or in any way giving fossil fuel companies immunity from lawsuits over climate change-related costs and damages.
Several fossil fuel companies, including Exxon, BP, and Shell, are backing a proposal urging Congress to give the fossil fuel industry immunity from climate change-related costs and damages facing Santa Cruz and other communities around the country.
If successful, the industry’s effort would leave taxpayers in those communities on the hook for all of those costs and damages. The US Conference of Mayors has long opposed state and federal legislative efforts to preempt local government access to the court systems.
“As a proud co-sponsor of this Resolution, I am thrilled with the outcome and will continue to fight at all levels to protect our residents, workers and businesses from the impacts and costs of climate change,” said Mayor Watkins. “The US Conference of Mayors is sending a clear signal to Congress and state legislatures that taking away Americans’ access to the courts is wrong.”
The City of Santa Cruz, along with a handful of other cities and states, has taken a proactive stance on the issue: the City is suing 29 fossil fuel companies for the costs and impacts of climate change on the City. Cities across the country face hundreds of billions of dollars in climate change-related adaptation costs now and in the future.
The science is clear and overwhelming that those costs are being incurred because of the actions of the fossil fuel companies. These lawsuits seek industry accountability for those localized costs.
“Recent polling by Yale University and the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that our community believes fossil fuel companies should be held accountable for climate costs and damages,” said Mayor Watkins. “And that’s what our lawsuit is all about.”
For more information on the resolution or climate suit, please contact Tiffany Wise-West at (831) 420-5433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.