Exxon Knew: Urge Kamala Harris to Investigate

Nov 21, 2015
By Jenesse Miller

In 1977, Exxon’s own senior scientist, James F. Black, told the company: “There is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”

That’s when Exxon knew the causes and risks of climate change. They also knew that humanity had “a window of five to ten years” to change course before threat became critical. That was 37 years ago – when they could have warned us, but didn’t.

Exxon chose greed instead. The company (then Exxon, now ExxonMobil) embarked on a decades-long effort to misinform the public and their shareholders, and their worldwide campaign of climate change denial has endangered the health and safety of us all – and that of our children, and our children’s children.

The “war on science” is very, very real. In a 1998, Exxon received a memo from their top lobbyist that said: “Victory will be achieved when average citizens 'understand' (recognize) uncertainties in climate science."

This evidence strongly suggests that Exxon’s distortions amounted to criminal behavior. Thousands of Californians are calling on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch a full investigation, and you can add your name at ecovote.org/ExxonKnew.

The case against Exxon is getting stronger every day. In fact, New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, began issuing subpoenas in their own Exxon investigation just last week. And that’s all the more reason for California to take the case, as explained in the New York Times:

"Attorneys general for other states could join in New York’s efforts, bringing far greater investigative and legal resources to bear on the issue. Some experts see the potential for a legal assault on fossil fuel companies similar to the lawsuits against tobacco companies in recent decades, which cost those companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties."

This could be climate change’s “big tobacco case” moment. The article continues:

“This could open up years of litigation and settlements in the same way that tobacco litigation did, also spearheaded by attorneys general,” said Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. “In some ways, the theory is similar – that the public was misled about something dangerous to health. Whether the same smoking guns will emerge, we don’t know yet.”

California has a chance to help bring big polluters to justice, and Attorney General Kamala Harris is exactly who we need to take on Exxon. Kamala Harris is a proven leader on climate change action. She’s defended our state's climate laws from attacks by big polluters and recently committed to defend President Obama's Clean Power Plan in court.

Now, we’re asking A.G. Harris to once again demonstrate bold leadership on climate change by launching a full investigation into Exxon’s climate change distortions – and we want her to make them pay. If you agree, add your name: http://ecovote.org/ExxonKnew >>




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