Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Jon Shields

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© 2017 Elizabeth M. Carrade


This thesis assesses the promise and potential failures of five tort cases filed in California city and county governments in 2017. The plaintiffs in these cases are suing the fossil fuel industry, claiming that the actions of the industry contributed substantially to global climate change, which is now causing sea level rise in their coastal communities. If these cases are successful, the budget-constrained city and county governments will be provided with funds necessary for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures that will allow residents to continue living in a hotter climate, with higher sea levels. As the effects of global climate change materialize, it is essential that local governments find ways to adapt.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.