California Sues Exxon, Shell And BP Over 'Shameful' Deception: 'Sickens You To Your Core'

Zinger Key Points
  • The state alleges the companies concealed the dangers of fossil fuels for decades.
  • It further claimed that the conduct of these companies has resulted in damage worth tens of billions of dollars.

California has initiated legal action against several major oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corporation XOMShell PLC SHELBP P.L.C. BPConocoPhillips COPChevron Corporation CVX and an industry trade group known as the American Petroleum Institute.

The state alleges the companies concealed the dangers of fossil fuels for decades, resulting in immense climate change-related damages, according to The New York Times. 

"These folks had this information and lied to us, and we could have staved off some of the most significant consequences," said California Governor Gavin Newsom, as mentioned in the report. "It's shameful. It sickens you to your core."

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Late Friday, the state's attorney general, Rob Bonta, filed a lawsuit representing the citizens of California, seeking the creation of a special fund to pay for recovery.

The 135-paged legal complaint reportedly highlights the escalating harm climate change is causing California, including unprecedented heatwaves, droughts, water scarcities, fierce wildfires, severe storms, floods, agricultural setbacks, shoreline deterioration and a decline in biodiversity.

California's Billion-dollar Climate Blow?

According to The New York Times, the state claimed that the conduct of these companies has resulted in damage worth tens of billions of dollars and that they misled the public by understating the dangers of fossil fuels.

However, rather than claiming damages from specific events, the lawsuit demands the establishment of a fund to offset future costs from extreme weather events and climate mitigation efforts. 

This fund would reportedly cover costs from extreme weather events and further mitigation and adaptation efforts throughout the state.

"This has been a multi-decade, ongoing campaign to seek endless profits at the expense of our planet, our people, and the greedy corporations and individuals need to be held accountable," Bonta said in an interview with The New York Times. "That's where we come in."

Also See: Oil Giant BP's CEO Resigns Amid Investigation On Personal Conduct

Apart from California, multiple states and municipalities have initiated similar lawsuits. 

Still, California's case is particularly impactful given its population, oil and gas production, and the attorney general's history of pioneering legal actions.

California cities had previously sued lead paint manufacturers on similar grounds. That litigation culminated in a $305 million settlement, establishing an abatement fund.

Photo: Shutterstock

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