Big Oil: Climate Change Is Real, But Don’t Blame Us
The science of climate change is on trial.
San Francisco and Oakland are suing the world’s oil giants for knowingly driving climate change while publicly discrediting scientific research.
The burning of fossil fuels by Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and others allegedly created a sort of environmental domino effect: increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide raised global temperatures, which melted glaciers, which caused a rise in sea levels, which led to flooding in California’s coastal cities.
In an effort to protect against future effects of global warming, the municipalities must take on massive infrastructure projects—for which they want Big Oil to pay.
“These companies knew their products were causing sea-level rise, and they deceived people about it,” San Francisco attorney Dennis Herrera told Scientific American. “Now, that bill has come due.”
The accusers aren’t looking to place blame for direct carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, they are bringing action on the premise that, despite knowing their products posed “severe risks to the global climate,” the defendants produced harmful fossil fuels while simultaneously downplaying their risks.
The burning of fossil fuels allegedly created a sort of environmental domino effect (via Public Domain Pictures/Pixabay)
During last week’s
hearing “tutorial”—presided over by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup—a Chevron lawyer “explicitly” acknowledged expert consensus on man-made global warming.
“From Chevron’s perspective, there is no debate about the science of climate change,” the counselor said, as reported by The Guardian.
Yet, briefs submitted to the court by deniers tell a different story.
Top producers of fossil fuels—firms like ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell—have long agreed that humans are causing global warming. But, according to filings, they also spend tens of millions manufacturing doubt and spreading denial.
Chevron further argued that blame lies not with producers, but consumers—i.e., people who drive a car, fly on a plane, heat their home, or run a factory.
The other four oil companies have two weeks to tell Alsup if they agree with Chevron’s bloated presentation.
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