(Reuters) – The state of California has sued major oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp, Shell PLC, and Chevron Corp, accusing them of downplaying the risks posed by fossil fuels, the New York Times reported Friday.

California, which also targets BP and ConocoPhillips, accuses the energy giants of causing tens of billions of dollars in damage and deceiving the public, according to the daily, which cites proceedings filed with a court in San Francisco.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, was also named as a defendant in the case, according to the article. California further requested the creation of a fund to pay for future damages caused by climate-related disasters in the state.

The lawsuit follows dozens of lawsuits filed in recent years against the fossil fuel industry by states and municipalities across the United States, generally alleging harm caused by the effects of climate, including extreme weather.

The American Petroleum Institute and oil companies said in response to the lawsuits that climate change policies should be implemented by the federal executive branch and Congress, not through a patchwork of decisions. taken in legal actions across the United States.

The California Secretary of State, Chevron, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and the American Petroleum Institute did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. Exxon Mobil could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh in Bangalore, additional reporting by Lavanya Ahire, writing by Mark Potter, Benjamin Mallet)

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