Could $200 Billion Tobacco-Type Settlement Be Coming Over ‘Climate Change?’

The Left hate disagreement with their fads so much that they cannot admit that opposing arguments have any merit.  From that comes their regular habit of saying that those who disagree with them are either evil or conspirators or both. Proving that is hard, however.  In their desperation they seize on old boogeymen time and time again.  And there are no greater boogeymen than oil companies.  So it follows that oil companies must be responsible for opposition to their climate panic.

And another great boogeyman is BIG TOBACCO!  And the fact that they have an actual court success against the tobacco companies makes them think they can have a similar success against big oil.

They overlook a big difference.  There was scientific evidence that tobacco was harmful so tobacco customers were selling a harmful product, which does create some liability. The companies were successfully prosecuted because they were held to be part responsible for tobacco-related disease.  But oil companies did NOT cause global warming.  The whole Warmist claim is that industrial civilization as a whole did.

It is nonetheless possible that a lawsuit will be brought.  But its prospect of success is so slight that it will just be a big financial loss to those who bring it

At the Big Law Business Summit last week, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ripped into Exxon Mobil for its stance on climate change.

Schneiderman accused Exxon of glossing over the risks that climate change poses to its core businesses in its public securities statements, and then couching its disclosure as first amendment protected.

“The first amendment doesn’t protect fraud – it doesn’t protect fraudulent speech,” he said.

This weekend, the Houston Chronicle published its investigation of the brewing legal threats that energy companies face as a result of their disclosures on climate change, comparing it to the situation tobacco companies faced in the late 1990s over their disclosures about the dangers of smoking.

In 1998, attorneys general from 46 states struck a $200 billion settlement with tobacco companies, ending years of litigation about whether they mislead smokers about the health risks of their products.

Now, there are 17 state attorneys general including Schneiderman investigating whether fossil fuel companies mislead investors in public disclosures about the risks associated with climate change.

Big law firms have been sending client alerts to energy companies, warning that a storm is brewing, according to the Chron, which quoted an email sent by lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman: “There is escalating effort to bring pressure to bear on companies with respect to their public securities statements on the effects of climate change.”

It noted the alerts picked up in April after a federal judge in Oregon allowed the environmental advocacy group Our Children’s Trust to proceed with a case against the U.S. government, arguing future generations are at risk as long as burning fossil fuels is permitted. It is but one of a handful of legal strategies that environmentalists are pursuing: Other suits have targeted energy firms for ignoring the potential effects on climate change in developing company policy.

The article quotes Bracewell’s Kevin Ewing as a skeptic about such lawsuits, saying it’s impossible to connect an individual company’s conduct with specific harm. Exxon was not immediately available to provide comment.


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