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Delaware Just Sued 30 Fossil Fuel Companies and the American Petroleum Institute Over Climate 'Denial and Disinformation'

Read time: 7 mins
Flood damage from Hurricane Irene at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.

Delaware, the home state of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, announced on Thursday, September 10 that it is taking dozens of major oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil to court over the rising costs of climate impacts such as sea level rise and coastal flooding.

Like other U.S. states and municipalities suing the fossil fuel industry, Delaware says that the industry knew half a century ago about the likely climate impacts resulting from the use of its products, but instead of warning the public or changing their business model, the fossil fuel companies engaged in campaigns to attack climate science and downplay the risks of burning coal, oil, and gas in order to stave off policy responses.

Hoboken, New Jersey Sues Oil Industry for Climate Impacts From its 'Deceptive Actions'

Read time: 5 mins
Woman standing in floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy next to a National Guard humvee in New Jersey

New Jersey has now joined the wave of lawsuits seeking to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for climate impacts. The city of Hoboken today filed a case against major oil and gas companies and the American Petroleum Institute (API), a powerful industry trade group which has played a major role in promoting “uncertainty” about climate science.

The lawsuit seeks to recover costs associated with climate impacts like extreme flooding and sea level rise. Like other climate liability lawsuits targeting fossil fuel companies, Hoboken's suit alleges that the oil and gas companies and their lobbying group not only knew early on about the climate harms resulting from their products, but actively engaged in campaigns of deception to undermine climate science and avoid policy responses.

Big Oil Faces Mounting Legal Battles Over Climate Threats to its New England Oil Terminals

Read time: 5 mins
East Providence Rhode Island, coastal oil terminals

A New England-based environmental law group is taking major oil companies to court, claiming the firms have failed to adapt some of their petroleum storage terminals to withstand increasingly severe storm and flooding events worsened by the climate crisis. 

Listen to the Drilled Podcast on Climate Denial

Read time: 1 min
Drilled logo

You thought you knew the story of climate denial, but what about its connection to cigarette filter tips or public broadcasting? Listen to the Drilled podcast and you’ll learn fascinating new details about the propaganda campaign of the century: the creation of climate denial.

Democrats' New Climate Plan Says Polluters Shouldn’t Receive Immunity From Lawsuits for Climate Impacts

Read time: 5 mins
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference about the new climate action agenda on June 30.

On Tuesday, June 30, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released a comprehensive action plan for tackling climate change. 

Some environmental groups criticized the plan for lacking ambition and not directly targeting fossil fuel production. However, the Democrats' agenda does support a powerful provision for holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their contributions to the disastrously warming planet: Not granting them legal immunity from Congress.

DC Is the Latest to Sue Exxon and Big Oil for Climate Disinformation Campaigns

Read time: 6 mins
DC Attorney General Karl Racine

Washington, D.C. is suing the four largest investor-owned oil and gas companies — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell — for allegedly misleading consumers about climate change, including historically undermining climate science and even now using deceptive advertising about the companies’ role in leading solutions to the climate crisis.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced the consumer fraud lawsuit on Thursday, June 25. The lawsuit claims that the four oil majors violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by engaging in misleading acts and practices around the marketing, promotion, and sale of fossil fuel products, which produce globe-warming pollution. The D.C. lawsuit alleges that these companies knew since at least the 1950s about the harmful consequences of burning fossil fuels and that they engaged in a campaign to deceive the public about those risks.

Under Rising Pressure on Climate, JPMorgan Rejects Shareholder Calls to Disclose Full Carbon Footprint

Read time: 7 mins
JPMorgan Chase Tower

America’s largest bank is shunning calls from shareholders to disclose its full emissions, despite warnings from its own economists that “catastrophic” climate change could end up threatening human life “as we know it.”

JPMorgan Chase, which a coalition of U.S. environmental groups recently claimed is the world’s largest financer of fossil fuels, has instructed its shareholders to vote down a proposal for the bank to report the emissions of its lending activities at its upcoming annual general meeting (AGM) on May 19.

‘Energy Policy Advocates’ and the Fossil Fuel Boosters Attacking Legal Efforts to Hold Climate Polluters Accountable

Read time: 11 mins
Lady Justice statue

While fossil fuel companies defend against mounting climate liability lawsuits in court, their surrogates are working in parallel to target the attorneys, academics, and institutions supporting these lawsuits. This defensive strategy involves vigorous public records requests, and in some cases legal action or intervention, to try proving a supposed conspiracy by those working to hold polluters accountable.

ExxonMobil has itself argued that attorneys general and municipal officials that have sued the company are engaged in a conspiracy to take down Big Oil. That argument hasn’t gained traction in court, but this hasn’t stopped operatives tied to fossil fuel funding from trying to take up that charge.

A Look at the Oil Industry’s Favorite Climate Solutions

Read time: 12 mins
NASA analyses reveal record-shattering warm temperatures across the globe in 2015.

This story is a part of Covering Climate Now’s week of coverage focused on Climate Solutions, to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Covering Climate Now is a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story.

Shell recently announced plans to “stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2050,” a move hailed by some as a major step towards addressing climate change. Around the same time, however, the oil and gas major confirmed it would go ahead with its investment in a joint $6.4 billion gas project in Australia.

This approach of saying one thing about addressing climate change while doing the opposite has been standard practice for the oil and gas industry for decades. Another popular strategy for the industry is to push certain climate “solutions” — often with slick advertising campaigns — that sound good in theory but are not viable in practice.

The Oil War in the Permian May Not Have Any Winners

Read time: 9 mins
A drilling rig on a former ranch outside of Bartsow, Texas in the Permian Basin.

At the same time a price war is raging in the global oil markets, a regional price war is playing out in the shale fields of Texas. The Texas oil war is between the major oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron and the many independent shale oil producers.

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