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Big Oil is on Trial – I Want a Ringside Seat

Grist reports that “last September, San Francisco and Oakland filed major lawsuits

against five of the world’s largest oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips,

Exxon Mobil, and Shell.” And the case is going to trial this week. California is suing

those companies

“because [they]:

1. knew about climate change decades ago,

2. continued doing business as usual, and

3. engaged in a world-wide public relations campaign to sow confusion over

climate science.

California says the companies have been using deception to profit as the

planet warms, and they should pay for the infrastructure the state needs to

protect itself against rising sea levels.”

And, as the Grist piece points out, California is not alone in its pursuit of justice from

Big Oil. A climate change lawsuit against president Trump brought by 21 young

activists is going to trial. Arnold Schwarzeneggar plans to sue Big Oil for committing

“first degree murder.” And New York City recently announced plans to divest its

multi-billion dollar pension funds from fossil fuels and sue Big Oil for climate-

change-related future damage to the city.

None of these cases are guaranteed to succeed, of course, but taken together they

may bode ill for Big Oil, which has, up to now, not been held accountable for shady

practices of hiding its own climate change science while profiting from it (at the

public’s expense). Let’s hope the tide is finally turning – before it inundates all our

major coastal cities.

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