California Sues Giant Oil Companies, Citing Decades of Deception
On September 15, 2023, the state of California filed a significant lawsuit against major oil companies, including Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, along with the American Petroleum Institute, alleging that they deliberately misled the public about the risks associated with fossil fuels, resulting in substantial environmental and economic damage. The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco's superior court, seeks to establish an abatement fund to cover the costs of future climate-related disasters in the state. California, a key oil and gas producer, is especially vulnerable to climate change-driven extreme weather events. This lawsuit, brought by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, is seen as a landmark legal challenge within the ongoing wave of climate-related lawsuits against fossil fuel companies, as California's track record of influential legal cases could set a precedent for other states. The complaint argues that these companies knew about the dangers of their products since the 1950s but concealed this information and promoted fossil fuels as safe, even in recent years, when they publicly downplayed their commitment to emissions reduction.