Blackmail. Deception. Public manipulation.
These are just some of the charges leveled against ExxonMobil at a mock trial that took place in Paris, Saturday to coincide with the ongoing international climate negotiations at COP21.
The trial, held in Paris, alleged Exxon’s work at funding climate science had put the planet, people’s health and communities from Texas to Nigeria at risk.
The trial was hosted by Canadian author Naomi Klein and climate change activist and author Bill McKibben and brought together key witnesses to discuss Exxon’s role in confusing the public about the dangers of human-caused climate change.
Two investigations by the LA Times and Inside Climate News revealed Exxon scientists warned the company about the impacts of burning fossil fuels in the 1970s.
But the trial heard how scientists were directed to keep that information secret from shareholders and the public.
Since the 70s Exxon was involved in trade organizations, think tanks and lobbying organizations that have misled the public about greenhouse gases, climate change and climate science.
The trial, titled Exxon vs. The People, was presided over by three judges including indigenous rights and 350.org campaigner Clayton Thomas-Muller, actor Peter Sarsgaard and Milañ Loeak, daughter of Christopher Loeak, president of the Marshall Islands.