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Supreme Court takes up energy companies' appeal over Baltimore climate lawsuit

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal by energy companies including BP PLC BP.L, Chevron Corp CVX.N, Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N and Royal Dutch Shell PLC RDSa.L contesting a lawsuit by the city of Baltimore seeking damages for the impact of global climate change.

The justices will weigh whether the lawsuit must be heard in state court as the city would prefer or in federal court, which corporate defendants generally view as a more favorable venue. The suit targets 21 U.S. and foreign energy companies that extract, produce, distribute or sell fossil fuels.

The outcome could affect around a dozen similar lawsuits by U.S. states, cities and counties including Rhode Island and New York City seeking to hold such companies liable for the impact of climate change.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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