CV NEWS FEED // California Attorney General Rob Bonta is suing five global oil and gasoline companies, accusing the companies of false advertising and of dismissing concerns about climate change.
According to Bonta’s September 16 press release, the complaint names five of the most prominent oil and gas companies in the world—Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP, as well as the American Petroleum Institute. Bonta claimed that the companies have known about the potential of fossil fuel-generated climate change since the 1960s and have ignored or denied any part in contributing to global warming.
“Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades — that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change — but have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment. Enough is enough,” Bonta said in the press release. “With our lawsuit, California becomes the largest geographic area and the largest economy to take these giant oil companies to court.”
“From extreme heat to drought and water shortages, the climate crisis they have caused is undeniable,” he continued. “It is time they pay to abate the harm they have caused.”
Bonta’s complaint features reports and internal memos from some of the companies in question, which may indicate that the companies knew about climate change as early as 1968. However, in a July interview with the BBC, Shell CEO Wael Sawan said that it would be “dangerous and irresponsible” to get rid of gas and oil production since most of the world is still dependent on fossil fuels.
In addition to claiming that the companies knew about the potential effects of fossil fuels, Bonta said that the five companies are “public nuisances” for damaging the health of Californians through “harmful climate-related conditions.”
Bonta also claimed that the oil and gas giants are guilty of false advertising and intentionally promoting misleading environmental marketing, as well as damaging natural resources and utilizing unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also endorsed the complaint, saying that “Big Oil” has been lying to consumers for over 50 years.
“California taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for billions of dollars in damages — wildfires wiping out entire communities, toxic smoke clogging our air, deadly heat waves, record-breaking droughts parching our wells,” Newsom said in Bonta’s press release. “With this lawsuit, California is taking action to hold big polluters accountable and deliver the justice our people deserve.”
The American Petroleum Institute and Shell responded to the lawsuit by saying that the courtroom is not the place to discuss climate change.
“This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources,” API senior vice president Ryan Meyers said, according to AP News.
Shell agreed with Meyers, saying that fixing the climate change issue “requires a collaborative, society-wide approach.”
“We agree that action is needed now on climate change, and we fully support the need for society to transition to a lower-carbon future,” Shell said.
No further legal action has been taken at this time.