The coastal city of Imperial Beach, California, joined two California coastal counties — Marin and San Mateo — last week in announcing they are suing more than three dozen big oil, gas and coal companies to help pay for the damage caused by climate change.
On sea level rise in Imperial Beach over the years
“I’ve been obsessively documenting what’s been happening on our coast, since I’m a surfer, since I was a kid in 1977, I’ve been in my city that long. And so I’m 53 now, so I have a lot of data, memory data, backed up basically to really look at what’s been happening on our coast, and the last few years — especially with El Niño — we’ve seen the worst coastal flooding that we’ve ever seen in our history, especially on our bay front. But we have on the south end of what’s called Seacoast Drive, our beachfront drive, is basically filled with water most of the winter, and that’s what the Union of Concerned Scientists have just called in a recent report ‘chronic inundation,’ so what you’re seeing in Virginia and in Florida, you’re also seeing in places like Imperial Beach. So it really sort of woke us up to the reality of what’s gonna be coming at us, with a report that we commissioned, to look at the impacts of sea level rise on our city.”
On why he’s confident the lawsuit will succeed
“We have a couple of things going for us. First, we’re working with some of the world’s top scientists, who’ve looked at the impact of carbon — what’s called cumulative carbon — so they’ve actually measured the carbon put into the atmosphere by these companies, so they know that the carbon emissions from these corporations have accounted for a large percentage of the carbon in the environment over the last few decades.
“No. 2, we have the smoking-gun documents issued by companies like ExxonMobil, who…