Apparently it’s Sue’s big oil week with Washington, DC.

Illustration for the article titled Apparently It's Sue Big Oil Week

Photo: Bruce Bennett (Getty)

It is the week of the Big Oil lawsuit. A day after Minnesota filed a innovative outfit, Washington, DC District Attorney General Karl Racine defendant ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell, alleging that the companies “systematically and intentionally misled consumers … about the central role their products play in climate change.”

Racine’s consumer protection lawsuit accuses the three defendants of knowing that the carbon emissions of their products have damaging weather consequences as early as the 1950s, and of promoting false information to hide that knowledge from the public.

“The companies funded and employed industry associations and front groups to distort and hide the dangers posed by their fossil fuel products,” Racine said in an emailed statement to Earther.

Racine’s lawsuit accuses companies of violating the Washington, DC Consumer Protection Procedures Act by running a communication campaign to challenge climate science, exaggerate their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hide the impact that their products have on the environment.

G / O Media may receive a commission

“If successful, this lawsuit would end the companies’ ability to deceive and lie to the people of Washington, DC. It could also subject them to huge financial penalties for their deception,” Richard Wiles, executive director of the legal advocacy group Center for Climate Integrity, he told Earther.

Internal business documents indicate that the big oil companies have done so much. If the court rules in Racine’s favor, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell could be forced to turn over more documentation that can provide evidence that this deception campaign took place. That deception, Racine said, continues to this day.

“In newspaper ads, online and on the District’s subway system, Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and Shell exaggerate their commitment to green and renewable energy sources,” he said. “These announcements hide the fact that none of these companies invests more than 2.3% of capital expenditures on renewable energy, and that BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell plan to expand fossil fuel production by 20% to 35% until 2030. And now that companies seek to sell more natural gas, they market it as ‘safe’, ‘clean’ and ’emission reducer’ ”.

In addition to the two lawsuits against Big Oil filed by Racine and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, there are currently 14 other lawsuits pending across the United States with the goal of holding fossil fuel companies and their government allies accountable for climate damage.

Both the Washington DC lawsuit and the Minnesota and Massachusetts lawsuit Wednesday come amid historic protests demanding justice for blacks, who are also disproportionately affected by the fossil fuel industryPollution. A Study 2017 it found that more than 1 million African Americans live less than a half-mile from an oil and gas operation, and more than 6.7 million live in a county that houses a refinery.

“The fossil fuel industry has knowingly fueled the climate crisis regardless of the impact its business has on the environment and people, especially blacks, browns and indigenous people around the world,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan, deputy director. of Corporate Accountability campaigns, in a statement. statement emailed to Earther. “This lawsuit is one more step toward justice.”

Updated: 06/25/2020, 4:26 pm ET: This post has been updated to include comments from Wiles.