Opinion: Local governments, not oil companies, failed to fight climate change by not providing adequate public transportation

A Metro bus moves through traffic on Wilshire Boulevard west of downtown Los Angeles in 2013.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If members of the Los Angeles City Council want to sue oil companies for the damage that climate change has caused, voters should file a lawsuit against the city and county for failing to give us meaningful, modern and useful public transportation alternatives. (“L.A. lawmakers look to sue big oil companies over climate change — and the costs that stem from it,” Jan. 13)

Instead, they have put more and more vehicles on the roads in the form of buses, traffic-stimulating carpool lanes and other measures that further congest rather than eliminate traffic.

If the city and the county would actually implement innovative ideas in these innovative times, rather than seeking to place blame on companies that have no vote or any other meaningful decision-making power to make change, it might be a blessing. But instead, they continue to just grandstand and seek to shift the blame to others for a situation they helped to create.

Martin Goldman, Tarzana



To the editor: City Councilmen Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz are seeking compensation for costly infrastructure damages that are piling up due to climate change by calling for L.A. to take legal action against oil companies. Bravo to them and I wish them well in their efforts.

A Shell Oil Co. spokesman disagreed with that approach, saying: “Climate change should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change.” Yet laws and the legal system are very much a part of our culture, so pursuing redress in general, and low-carbon solutions in particular, through the courts sits comfortably within Americans’ worldview.

Robert Haw, Altadena

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