The towns say the companies coordinated a multibillion-dollar "fraudulent marketing scheme" to convince consumers that fossil fuel products do not alter the climate.
November 30, 2022

I have to say, if any organization should be the target of a RICO suit, the racketeering oil companies are a logical target. We know they have covered up the consequences of their own business practices, and we know the rest of us have subsidized the disastrous results of the climate change that resulted -- while collecting record profits. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch! Via Reuters:

(Reuters) - Puerto Rican municipalities have filed a lawsuit in federal court saying ExxonMobil Corp, Shell Plc, Chevron Corp and others colluded to publicly downplay the risks of their fossil-fuel products on climate change and are financially responsible for damages from the devastating 2017 hurricane season, which was made worse by global warming.

The group of 16 municipalities filed what they called a first-of-its-kind lawsuit last week against about a dozen fossil fuel companies and others. The towns say the companies coordinated a multibillion-dollar "fraudulent marketing scheme" to convince consumers that fossil fuel products do not alter the climate. That campaign ran contrary to the companies' own studies showing their products accelerate climate change, resulting in more deadly storms, the lawsuit said.

The municipalities said the companies outlined a plan of deception in a joint memo that took aim at international climate negotiations in the 1990s. The coordinated deception spanning decades violates U.S. racketeering and antitrust laws among others, the suit claims.

This suit cheers me up. I have no idea of its chances (I'm not naive enough to believe it will move on its own merits without massive and likely corrupt response by oil companies -- after all, this is a oil Mafia), but it would be a fitting end to the era of fossil fuels lies without consequence. I can dream, right?

I love the "who, us?" responses:

Shell spokesperson Anna Arata said in a statement that addressing climate change requires a “society-wide” approach, and the company doesn’t believe the courtroom is the right venue to address the issue.

Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton said that legal proceedings like this “waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”

Theodore Boutrous of Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, a counsel for Chevron, said the "lawsuit is a baseless distraction from the serious challenge of global climate change, not an attempt to find an effective solution."

I disagree. Having to "shell" out (see what I did there?) massive amounts of damages is the only thing that gets behemoth corporations to change their lying ways. That's why the Puerto Rico towns join a list of similar recent suits from the State of NJ, the cities of Annapolis and Vancouver, and even the crab fishing industry.

Make these mothers pay, it's the only language they understand.

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