DC joins the ranks of lawsuits against ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell for funding climate denial

  • Published on June 29th, 2020

After Minnesota filed a climate denial suit against API, ExxonMobil, and Koch IndustriesDC followed with a suit of its own against ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell. Both suits are based on local consumer protection violations, which means that these aren’t cases of the industry being sued for the climate damage done by its product (a federal policy issue, ExxonMobil contends, that doesn’t belong in state courts, or any courts), but instead pertain to  the industry’s marketing practices.

By Climate Denier Roundup

Specifically, the suits both take aim at the fossil fuel industry’s “momentous effort to provide false and misleading assurances to consumers that global warming did not pose a threat, that the science about climate change was uncertain, and that there was no need to shift away from fossil fuels,” according to the DC filing that alleges the companies have violated the DC Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

The charges filed by the DC attorney general explain how these companies’ own scientists were warning about climate change as early as the 1950s and ‘60s, but “rather than telling customers the truth about their products, [ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell] have and continue to place profits over people by misleading consumers about the realities of climate change, the significant detrimental impacts of their fossil fuel products, and their commitment to renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Defendants have reaped massive financial benefits from increased sales made possible through their coordinated campaign of mass deception.”

While the DC suit is focused on the companies, it does address the front groups they used to separate themselves from the messages they knew to be false. API and the Global Climate Coalition get a special call out, with tobacco-lawyer-turned-climate-denier Steve Milloy also getting namechecked in one of the many comparisons between the fossil fuel industry’s behavior and the tobacco industry’s disinformation playbook.

Though we’ve yet to see the industry’s response to the DC filing concerning the industry’s use of front groups and public relations campaigns to deceive the public, the industry’s public relations blog Energy in Depth did publish a response to the Minnesota suit.

Though really, it’s more a rehashing of their same tired talking points about how they’re the victims of a conspiracy and other lawsuits haven’t been successful. Other lawsuits, however, haven’t addressed this issue.

You would think they’d know that initial decisions aren’t the final word, given that after winning thousands of cases, the tobacco industry ended up losing. Something they should certainly be aware of, as they’re using the tobacco industry’s playbook, and its lawyers…

More: MN sues Koch, API, ExxonMobil for Climate Denial campaigns they’re STILL obviously running

(Crossposted with DailyKos.)

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