The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has ruled that Exxon cannot escape a lawsuit brought by the state’s Attorney General, and they must stand trial. The lawsuit accuses the energy giant of covering up the dangers of climate change for decades, both to the public and to their own investors. Farron Cousins explains what this could mean for climate justice and how the legal avenues used could actually be successful.
Link – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/24/exxon-trial-climate-crimes-fossil-fuels-global-heating
Don’t forget to like, comment, and share! And subscribe to stay connected!
Connect with Farron on Twitter: https://twitter.com/farronbalanced
*This transcript was auto-generated. Please excuse any typos.
The Massachusetts Supreme court ruled on Tuesday of this week that a lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Massachusetts against the Exxon corporation. Can in fact, go to trial. Exxon is being sued by the state for lying, not only to the public, but also lying to their own investors for decades about the dangers of climate change. And of course, how the product that they’re selling is making climate change so much worse. So here’s the thing Exxon had, of course been appealing. This, they didn’t want it to happen. They tried to get it thrown out. And finally the Massachusetts Supreme court said, listen, this case has merit. There is a real legal argument to be made here. You are gonna have to go to trial. You cannot keep trying to get this thing thrown out. You’re done. You’re going, you know, the judge, of course, by the way, or the judge is, I should say, didn’t issue any kind of ruling on Exxon’s culpability on their guilt, on anything like that.
Or even the merits of the case. All they said was that this is a valid claim. The claims do have merit. That of course will be feathered out in a court of law. So Exxon like anybody else, you gotta have your day in court, you can’t escape it anymore. Now we have actually seen plenty of lawsuits be filed against fossil fuel giants, trying to hold them accountable for climate change. But Exxon’s a bit of a unique animal here because Exxon documents, everybody always says, by the way, going back to the 1970s, if you actually look at their documents, they go back to the 1950s. Cause I’ve seen them. I’ve gone through these documents myself personally, they go back all the way to the 1950s where Exxon scientists started talking about these emissions that our, our products are putting out there and the accumulation and the atmosphere and how that could create some kind of warming effect.
This was of course before the term green hear, uh, greenhouse gas, uh, you know, became a phrase that we used is 20 years before that. And then of course in the seventies, they had their science basically settled. So that’s why people say they knew in the seventies, they knew in the fifties, they had it confirmed by the seventies, according to their own internal documents, which by the way, you can find online, you don’t have to file a suit to get these particular documents. Those are readily available. And that of course is what these lawsuits are based upon. Exxon knew back then, but rather than doing anything about it, they decided to cover it up. They’ve funded millions upon millions of dollars worth of climate misinformation. Um, they have helped along with all of these other oil companies pay off scientists to go out there and lie to the public
About the dangers of climate change. They’re horrible people, but the question is, is that criminal right? Can you actually Sue them for this? Because again, people have tried to Sue them for causing climate change in the past. They haven’t been successful because it’s harder to show damages, right? It’s harder to show that the damage you as an individual suffered, came from an emission from this particular oil company that somehow made it to the atmosphere, made it over here, made it into your body and specifically caused your, your illness or your injury or whatever. Very difficult to prove. That’s why it’s hard to hold a single oil company accountable for climate change would have to be all of them. And of course, you know, kind of like the tobacco lawsuits they’re working on it, right? We’ll get there. We’ll figure out how to do it in a good way.
And it’ll get done this one, however, is saying you lied to the public, but more importantly, and this is why I think it has a chance of success. You lied to your investors. That’s how you get ’em. Because that seems to be the one thing that the law always cares about, right? Screw over as many little people as you want, but oh my God, you lie to people with money. They’re coming for you. Hey, why do you think Bernie Madoff wase one we wanna see, but if it’s one that works, then I’m all for it.