Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Villagers sue energy firms

April 2008

A village in Alaska is suing 20 companies on the grounds that they have altered the climate, forcing residents to abandon their homes.

The 400 people of the coastal village of Kivalina are leaving because of flooding that they claim results from the changing Arctic climate. They have filed the $400million (£200m) compensation lawsuit in a federal court against five oil companies, 14 electricity utilities and a coal company.

They maintain that the businesses have contributed to climate change and have delayed constructive action by disparaging global warming evidence.

The companies being sued include American Electric Power, BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Peabody Energy.

Most legal commentators feel the plaintiffs have little chance of success, especially as two similar climate change-related lawsuits, one in California against six car manufacturers and another against utilities companies, were recently dismissed by federal judges. Appeals are pending in both cases.

The companies refuse to comment on the specifics, but a Peabody spokesperson said campaigners would do better to support businesses in finding ways to cut carbon emissions ‘rather than unreasonably suing companies for the weather’.

North America | Climate change


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