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Shell and Friends: A Masterclass in Climate Responsibility

Posted by John Donovan 17 Sept 2023

In an act of sheer audacity, the great state of California has decided to sue some of the world’s most beloved oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP. Their audacious claim? That these companies misled the public and downplayed the teeny-tiny risks associated with fossil fuels. How dare they suggest such a thing?

This civil lawsuit, filed with a flourish in state Superior Court in San Francisco, has a unique twist: it’s not just about exposing the so-called “deceptions” of Big Oil. No, California wants a fund, and it wants the very companies it’s suing to finance it. This fund will serve as a sort of “Oops, our bad” account for when those pesky storms and fires wreak havoc. After all, it’s only fair that the companies causing climate change also foot the bill for its consequences, right?

Governor Gavin Newsom, that brave champion of climate justice, declared, “For more than 50 years, Big Oil has been lying to us.” But don’t be too quick to judge. Perhaps all those years of deception were just a little white lie, like telling a child that the boogeyman isn’t real. Who doesn’t appreciate a good bedtime story?

The lawsuit alleges that these companies knew since the 1950s that their products could potentially cause a bit of global warming. But instead of shouting it from the rooftops, they kept it to themselves, like a well-guarded secret. They even had the audacity to downplay climate change, suggesting that burning fossil fuels was as harmless as a walk in the park.

Oh, and let’s not forget the American Petroleum Institute, that innocent bystander in all of this. They’re also named in the lawsuit, though they insist that climate policy should be left to the wise minds in Congress. Because, as we all know, the courtroom is no place to address global warming, right?

And what does Shell have to say about this? They’re all about collaboration and society-wide approaches to climate change, of course. They fully support transitioning to a lower-carbon future. Just not in a courtroom. Because, you see, courtrooms are for trivial matters like justice and accountability.

California’s lawsuit, though not the first of its kind, is undoubtedly the most groundbreaking. After all, California is the most populous state in the country and a major oil and gas producer. Their attorney general’s office has a knack for setting trends in legal action, a trend that smaller states simply can’t resist following.

So, there you have it. California’s valiant attempt to bring these oil giants to justice for their decades of climate lies. Will they succeed? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, let’s appreciate the courage it takes to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and demand accountability. Because, after all, who needs a habitable planet when you can have record-breaking profits?

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