Northern California U.S. District Judge William Alsup has dismissed the climate change lawsuits filed against BP (NYSE: BP), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), and Shell (NYSE: RDS.A)  by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

The lawsuits were filed last September against the five big oil companies alleging that the carbon emissions from their fossil fuel production had created an unlawful public nuisance because they result in greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to worldwide climate change and rising sea levels.

In the complaint, the two California west coast cities asked the court to require the companies to reduce the issue by funding a climate adaptation program that would build sea walls and other infrastructure to protect from sea level rise among other climate impacts.

Judge Alsup dismissed the complaint as requiring foreign and domestic policy decisions that are outside the proper purview of the courts.

“The scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales,” the court said.

The court concluded by dismissing the claims and deferring to the policy judgments of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government: “The dangers raised in the complaints are very real. But those dangers are worldwide. Their causes are worldwide. The benefits of fossil fuels are worldwide.

“It is true that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels has caused (and will continue to cause) global warming,” the court said. “But against that negative, we must weigh this positive: our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without these fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted. Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable?”

“Reliable, affordable energy is not a public nuisance but a public necessity,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron’s vice president and general counsel.

Several other U.S. cities and counties, including New York City and King County, Washington, recently filed nearly identical cases against the same oil and gas companies. Many were filed by the same lawyers. The energy companies have filed motions to dismiss those cases as well.

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