Five significant fossil fuel companies (Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips), as well as their trade association American Petroleum Institute, have been sued by the state of New Jersey in a 200-page civil lawsuit for deceiving customers and the general public about climate change. The complaint from New Jersey is one of around 20 identical cases from other states, counties, and cities across the country.
The major oil and gas companies and the trade association are accused of concealing the reality of climate change and misleading consumers, endangering their safety in order to increase profits, according to the lawsuit, which was announced by State Attorney General Matthew Platkin on Tuesday and filed in the New Jersey Superior Court.
The State has spent billions of dollars cleaning up after climate change-related catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy, hardening the Jersey Shore against future storms, and safeguarding its citizens, businesses, infrastructure, and natural resources from a variety of other climate change risks as a result of the fossil fuel industry’s lies and deceit, the lawsuit claims.
According to the text, the Defendants have known for more than 50 years that greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuel products would have a significant negative impact on the Earth’s climate and sea levels.
However, they protected their own infrastructure and assets from the effects of climate change and rising sea levels by deceiving consumers and spreading false and misleading information about fossil fuels and climate change, all the while knowing that these effects would negatively affect the Earth’s climate and sea levels.
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The corporations are being ordered by New Jersey to stop misleading customers about the use of fossil fuels and their effects on the environment. As a result of the damaging effects that climate change has had on natural resources, infrastructure, and assets, the state is also requesting civil monetary fines and damages from the State of New Jersey.
According to the lawsuit, the firms’ false statements prolonged the shift to a lower carbon footprint and increased consumer reliance on fossil fuels, activities that increased carbon emissions and exacerbated the consequences of global warming on the state.
Casey Norton, a representative for one of the defendants, ExxonMobil, blasted the action, claiming it will not stop climate change and will be a waste of taxpayer money, according to a statement published by Inside Climate News.
According to Norton, legal actions like these are a waste of millions of government dollars and accomplish little to advance substantive measures that lower the risk of climate change. ExxonMobil will keep making investments in initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions while supplying the growing demand for energy in society.
A 2020 lawsuit from the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, is one of many like cases that have been filed across the United States. Additionally, lawsuits against Big Oil have been brought by the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Vermont as well as the District of Columbia.
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Accountability is important because Superstorm Sandy alone cost the state $30 billion. Anjuli Ramos-Busot, the director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey, said in a statement that this is particularly crucial given the fact that we are continuing to experience more severe climate effects, more hurricanes, more flooding, and more devastation. It’s time for Big Oil to be held accountable and made to pay for its role in contributing to global warming because New Jersey cannot afford another Sandy.