As scientists worry that climate change is stoking deadly hurricanes in the Atlantic and punishing wildfires in the West, a new study seeks to drive change by casting blame, connecting global warming to a roster of 90 companies topped by Bay Area-based Chevron.

The products these companies generate — mostly oil, gas and coal — have caused half of the increase in global temperatures since the 1800s, according to the report published in the journal Climate Change. Some of the firms have been responsible for nearly 3 percent of the total carbon dioxide driving global warming, the report said, though they knew in some cases that their actions were harmful.

The study is the latest piece of a broad effort to tie individual companies to climate change in a bid to pressure them and force reforms. It comes as scientists hone their ability to assign accountability for the cost of a warming planet, and as President Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, leads an administration that is stripping away rules designed to curb emissions of problematic greenhouse gases.

With the vacuum of federal regulation, some legal experts and environmental advocates said, the fight over global warming — and the emerging question of who should pay for its damage — will increasingly move to the courts. There, studies like the one published last week may be powerful evidence.

“We’re seeing a lot of litigation around climate change and environmental issues now because the government is walking away from its obligation to protect human health and welfare,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in New York. “This (new report) is exactly the sort of study that plaintiffs will rely on in seeking to attribute blame for climate change.”

Thank you to the San Francisco Chronicles for the original article below:

Article Source: Advocates blame oil giants for climate change, call Chevron No. 1 culprit

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