A lawsuit blaming energy companies for climate control issues may see some California cities in hot water. Several cities, including Santa Cruz and San Francisco, claim Exxon and several other companies hid the costs of climate change from citizens and investors. They blame these companies for damages resulting from climate change and suggest higher sea levels in the future will erode property values.
But here’s the kicker. While blathering on and blaming energy companies, these same cities told an entirely different story when seeking investors for bonds. When it came to the money market and receiving funds, the cities proclaimed there was no significant evidence of adverse effects from climate change.
In San Francisco’s 2017 bond offering, they stated:
“The City is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur, and if any such events occur, whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City and the local economy.”
Yet in the lawsuit, they said, “Global warming-induced sea level rise is already causing flooding of low-lying areas of San Francisco…”
San Francisco lawmakers are looking for ways to get paid from both ends of the climate debate, no matter how hypocritical this makes them. Potential investors are told all is well and no future predictions can be made as to whether business ventures would be impacted, while at the same time crying foul to Exxon and other companies for damages already incurred.
Santa Cruz made similar statements that seem to contradict each other. Firstly, in the 2017 bond offering, it was stated that:
“Areas within the county may be subject to unpredictable climatic conditions, such as flood, droughts and destructive storms.”
But in the lawsuits against the energy giants, Santa Cruz put forward the position that there is “a 98% chance that the County experiences a devastating three-foot flood before the year 2050 and a 22% chance that such a flood occurs before 2030.”
Exxon, at least, is not ignorant of the double claims. The conglomerate filed a petition in Texas to require state officials provide under oath explanations of their statements. Bond investors may not take too kindly to being misled and could potentially withdraw any investments. And, they would have the legal right to do so should these contradictory claims become dissected in court.
“In the end, the cities’ mismanagement will come home to roost in higher borrowing costs and, ultimately, higher taxes for their residents,” Fox News reported.
As if the cost of living in these seaside areas isn’t high enough, the cities’ officials blindly move forward in their greed for funding.