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Chicago Sues Big Oil

America's third largest city has joined an "historic wave" of law suits against Big Oil.

Chicago skyline
Chicago skyline at night

Since 2017, cities in Colorado, California, New York, Oregon, Maryland, South Carolina, Hawaii and Puerto Rico have brought similar suits, all alleging that the planet’s biggest oil and gas companies contributed to climate change, and that they knowingly misled the public about how their fossil fuel products contribute to extreme heat, flooding and other impacts on citizens.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson filed a lawsuit against Chevron, BP, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Shell, saying the oil giants not only deceived the public, but discredited science as the climate crisis escalated, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. “We bring this lawsuit to ensure that the Defendants who have profited from the deception campaign bear responsibility for their conduct.”

The suit also named the trade group American Petroleum Institute as a defendant. The city accused it of conspiring with oil companies in promoting disinformation campaigns, while at the same time having knowledge of the realities of climate change.

The city is asking that the oil companies be held responsible for the costs of infrastructure needed to adapt to climate change, as well as damage to property, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. “These companies knowingly deceived Chicago consumers in their endless pursuit of profits,” said the mayor’s office.

“Big Oil has lied to the American people for decades about the catastrophic climate risks of their products, and now Chicago and communities across the country are rightfully insisting they pay for the damage they’ve caused,” said President of the Center for Climate Integrity Richard Wiles in a statement. “With Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, joining the fray, there is no doubt that we are witnessing a historic wave of lawsuits that could finally hold Big Oil accountable for the climate crisis they knowingly caused.”


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