A US attorney general on Thursday filed a lawsuit against four major oil companies for systematically and intentionally misleading consumers about the role their products play in causing climate change.
In a statement published by his office, the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, said Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell financed and employed industry associations and front groups to distort and conceal the dangers their fossil fuel products represented.
“As early as the 1950s these four companies knew carbon emissions created by burning fossil fuels would, in due time, pose an existential threat to humanity,” Racine said.
He argued that for decades, these oil and gas companies spent millions to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of profits.
Racine blamed the companies for “systematically and intentionally generating doubt that climate change is man-made.”
He accused the energy companies of hiring scientists and generating media coverage to promote fake research disputing the scientific consensus.
Despite their statements about their commitment to green, renewable energy sources, Racine said none of these companies invested more than 2.3% of their capital expenditures on renewables and aimed to expand fossil fuel production by 20% to 35% through 2030.
New York City sued these companies in 2018 to hold them accountable for their role in climate change. The US District Court judge, however, dismissed the case, saying, “The issue should be determined by the legislative and executive branches, rather than the judiciary.”
By Sibel Morrow