Friday, August 21, 2015

Oil industry since 1990s misleading public opinion on climate change

(Image Union of Concerned Scientists)
Exxon and other carbon majors like BP, Chevron, Phillips and Shell were at least since the 1980s aware of the links between fossil fuels and global warming. Despite that knowledge they were promoting at least since the early 1990s climate change denial in public. This is the conclusion to be drawn from a report (summary, full report) and a pack of documents published by the U.S. NGO the “Union of Concerned Scientists”.

The documents may serve as means of proof for “negligence” of the CO2 emitting oil and gas companies in all jurisdictions applying this legal criterion in the context of liability claims based on classic tort law. In some jurisdictions, additional legal liability actions can be based on the fact that the oil companies were consciously misleading the public opinion. Misleading the public opinion could have delayed political action against climate change and thus indirectly contributed to the damages caused by climate change.

Also read: Obligation to disclose the risk of climate change litigation to shareholders

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