Councils everywhere, including Australia, should be following this lawsuit with much interest. While the rest of us don't really have any legal standing to bring a suit against national governments for failing to respond appropriately in the wake of climate change, insurance companies do. As this article shows, not only do they have standing but they will in fact take on a suit of this kind to protect their shareholders' interests. While some national governments will continue to deny and delay climate change mitigation measures, councils have to bear the day to day realities of additional infrastructure needed to cope with floods and other calamities. While there is greater pressure on cities and towns of the future to manage the growing infrastructure needs of their residents, what funding and legal power do they have to manage their own destiny, particularly in a federal structure? Time for reform all round.
Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.