Obstruction and obfuscation by fossil fuel companies?

In December 2019, Commissioner Roberto Cadiz told COP25 that the three-year Philippines Human Rights Commission National Inquiry on Climate Change will soon release its report. He said the Commissioners have made their decision: the 47 biggest Carbon Majors have violated the human rights of  Philippine citizens through their contributions to climate change, and can be held legally liable for those violations under existing Philippines civil law. Cadiz said it may also be possible to hold the companies criminally accountable “where they have been clearly proved to have engaged in acts of obstruction and willful obfuscation.” 

How strong is the evidence that big fossil fuel companies knowingly concealed the hazards that they knew would result from the normal use of their fossil fuel products through misrepresentation about those products and deliberately discrediting scientific information related to climate change? Read the impressive amicus brief in the San Mateo litigation. It lays out evidence that the fossil fuel companies had actual knowledge of the risks of their products and had taken “proactive steps to conceal their knowledge and discredit climate science” while at the same time taking steps to protect their own assets from the impacts of climate change. 

The brief starts this way:

"At least fifty years ago, Defendants-Appellants (hereinafter, “Defendants”) had information from their own internal research, as well as from the international scientific community, that the unabated extraction, production, promotion, and sale of their fossil fuel products would result in material dangers to the public. Defendants failed to disclose this information or take steps to protect the public. They also acted affirmatively to conceal their knowledge and discredit climate science, running misleading nationwide marketing campaigns and funding junk science to manufacture uncertainty, in direct contradiction to their own research and the actions they themselves took to protect their assets from climate change impacts such as sea level rise."

More Posts

More evidence that Alberta’s oil industry is not “ethical”

Alberta claims to have an ethical oil industry. An ethical industry would pay its way and clean up its own mess. This is called the Polluter Pay principle and it’s fundamental to Canadian environmental law. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening...

Read More

Climate litigation: Exciting victories

"Gradually, then suddenly". After many years of hard work, climate litigation is racking up unprecedented victories around the world. Both companies (Shell) and governments (Belgium, France, Germany, etc.) have been found to be negligent and in breach of human rights...

Read More

Indigenous climate action and moose

I was delighted to listen to the most recent episode of the Indigenous Climate Action pod, called "In the Know - Respect the Moose". This episode focusses on the animals' long-term relationship with indigenous peoples across Canada, and how that...

Read More

Of course land is not interchangeable

So the Ford government will protect some land somewhere in exchange for its dozens of abusive, developer- friendly MZOs? That only makes it ok if land is interchangeable like Lego blocks. Which is nonsense. Of course they should expand protected...

Read More

Can PACE take off?

Municipalities across Canada are grappling with how to honour their climate emergency declarations and net-zero commitments. To reach net-zero by 2050, municipalities would have to ensure deep energy efficiency and /or renewable energy retrofits in an average of ~3% of...

Read More
View All Posts