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Oil companies don’t deserve reparations for fossil fuel bans. They’ll still want them

Phasing out fossil fuel is a crucial step to address the climate emergency. But to do so will mean facing not only political and economic obstacles, but legal ones. Fossil fuel companies can use domestic and international laws to demand compensation for bans on fossil fuels or prohibitions on the extraction of oil or coal. The legal system can make our collective transition to a green economy easier, or more difficult; among other things, it can increase the bill we pay for a healthy environment. Like big tobacco, big oil can and will litigate. This legal question becomes especially serious because companies like Shell and Exxon-Mobil can bring cases to a jurisdiction that they contributed to creating in the first place – a forum specially fit for their purposes.

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