It’s Thursday, September 3, and Hoboken, New Jersey, is suing Big Oil.

The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, a gavel, and logos of Shell and Exxon.

The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, has filed suit against Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and other oil giants — vowing to hold them accountable for the costs that the city will face as it adapts to climate change.

Hoboken’s mayor, Ravi Bhalla, noted at a press conference that the city has already faced major climate disasters like Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. (In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, 80 percent of the city was underwater and without electricity.) “Big oil companies have been profiting to the tune of billions of dollars at the expense of the health and safety of the public,” he said.

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Several cities have filed lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations in recent years, alleging that they have consistently misled the public about the dangers of global warming and demanding compensation to protect cities from supercharged storms and sea-level rise. So far, California cities have been leading the charge.

Now Hoboken is joining in. Since Sandy, the city has been prioritizing building sea walls, underwater reservoirs, and parks that soak up excess rainwater. But all those changes don’t come cheap. If the lawsuit is successful, some of them could be covered by fossil fuel companies.

Shannon Osaka

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The Smog

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