Sanders, Warren: DOJ Must Sue Big Oil for Decades of Lies on Climate Crisis

The lawmakers say the business has damaged a slew of legal guidelines in perpetuating its lies in regards to the local weather disaster.

A gaggle of senators is urging the Division of Justice to file lawsuits in opposition to the fossil gas business over its decades-long marketing campaign to disclaim its impression on the local weather disaster on the final day of what scientists predict would be the hottest month on Earth on report.

On Monday, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) informed Legal professional Common Merrick Garland that it’s clear that the fossil gas business has for years damaged all kinds of legal guidelines in perpetuating local weather denial, and that the DOJ should maintain the business accountable.

“The actions of ExxonMobil, Shell, and probably different fossil gas corporations signify a transparent violation of federal racketeering legal guidelines, reality in promoting legal guidelines, shopper safety legal guidelines, and probably different legal guidelines,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.

Since at least the 1970s, fossil gas giants like Exxon have identified {that a} dependence on fossil fuels would result in local weather disaster, with firm scientists predicting with stunning accuracy how a lot their merchandise would heat and destabilize the planet. Somewhat than heeding these warnings, the firms labored in tandem to bury this analysis, and, borrowing from Large Tobacco’s technique of mendacity about lung most cancers, have spent a long time sowing local weather denial with a purpose to enrich themselves and their shareholders.

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The lawmakers say that these corporations ought to, in the end, be held chargeable for their lies. They cite analysis on the local weather disaster that Shell, Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute had been conscious of, however selected to discredit.

Whereas many states and climate advocates have introduced lawsuits looking for to reveal the business’s lies or mandate an finish to fossil fuels, the DOJ has not itself introduced a lawsuit in opposition to the business, though it did file a authorized transient in help of a Colorado local weather lawsuit earlier this 12 months.

“Regardless of these corporations’ information about local weather change and the function their business was taking part in in driving carbon emissions, they selected to take part in a decades-long, rigorously coordinated marketing campaign of misinformation to obfuscate local weather science and persuade the general public that fossil fuels should not the first driver of local weather change,” the senators wrote.

“Due to the unlawful lies of the fossil gas business, local weather change is wreaking catastrophic injury upon the USA. Floods, droughts, excessive climate disturbances, and wildfires are inflicting unprecedented injury,” they continued.

The DOJ should be sure that the prices of the local weather disaster — which experts have projected will quantity to lots of of trillions of {dollars} over the subsequent a long time — fall on the business that precipitated it, the lawmakers mentioned.

“These prices, and the prices of repairing our surroundings and transitioning away from fossil fuels, should not fall on American taxpayers. As a substitute, they have to be borne by the events chargeable for driving local weather change and mendacity in regards to the destructive impacts of their merchandise,” the lawmakers wrote. “The polluters should pay.”

The lawmakers’ name comes amid a summer time marked by blaring warnings that the local weather disaster is right here, and can solely worsen if these with energy proceed down this path. International temperature data had been shattered in July, with scientists saying the heat would have been “nearly inconceivable” with out the local weather disaster.“Simply as we did with Large Tobacco, it’s time to maintain the fossil gas business accountable. It’s time for the DOJ to hitch the struggle,” Sanders said on Monday. “The way forward for our planet will depend on it.”

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