The state of California has filed a lawsuit against five of the world’s major oil companies, alleging that these companies caused billions of dollars in environmental damage and deceived the public by downplaying climate risks related to fossil fuels.
The civil suit, directed against Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, as well as the American Petroleum Institute (API), was filed in San Francisco Superior Court. California seeks to hold these companies accountable for their impact on climate change and create a fund to address future damage caused by this phenomenon.
California Governor Gavin Newsom stated that for more than 50 years, Big Oil has hidden information about the environmental dangers of fossil fuels. This legal movement seeks to expose alleged deceptions and ensure that polluters are held responsible for the damages caused.
The allegations center on these companies intentionally downplaying the risks associated with fossil fuels, despite being aware of their contribution to global warming since the 1950s. These deceptions are alleged to have delayed the response to climate change, which had a high cost in terms of human lives, property, and natural resources.
The California lawsuit is part of a growing movement of lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry in the United States, similar to previous successful cases against the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. Although the oil sector has tried to avoid these lawsuits, the United States Supreme Court recently rejected appeals seeking to stop the lawsuits.
Environmentalists have praised California’s initiative as an important step in the fight against oil companies and a sign that lawsuits will continue to grow. California’s lawsuit joins a global movement in which governments and activists seek to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its contribution to climate change and its devastating impacts on the environment and society.