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California Sues ‘Big Oil’, Accusing the Companies of Downplaying Climate Risks

California Sues ‘Big Oil’, Accusing the Companies of Downplaying Climate Risks

The real facts are not with California…but facts are sometimes not a part in court decisions.

After returning from a lovely trip through both peninsulas of Michigan…paying less than $4 per gallon for gasoline, I had sticker shock when filling up my tank this weekend.

Gas prices in Southern California shot up at their fastest rate of the year last week, according to data released by AAA.

A gallon of regular self-serve gasoline cost an average of $5.62 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area as of Thursday. That is up 18 cents from last week and 38 cents from last month.

The national average price is nearly $2 less — $3.86 — up 6 cents from a week ago.

However, instead of supporting the fossil fuel industry and encouraging the development of resources and supplies, the political class in Sacramento is targeting oil companies in a lawsuit.

The state of California has sued major oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Shell PLC (SHEL.L), and Chevron Corp (CVX.N), accusing them of playing down the risks posed by fossil fuels, according to a court filing on Friday.

The lawsuit, which also targets BP (BP.L) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N), alleges the energy giants’ actions have caused tens of billions of dollars in damages and accuses them of deceiving the public, the filing in a superior court in San Francisco showed.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, has also been listed as a defendant in the case, according to the filing.

California has sought the creation of an abatement fund to pay for future damages caused by climate-related disasters in the state, the filing showed.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, “California is taking action to hold big polluters accountable.”

The petroleum industry counters that the courts are not the proper place to establish climate policy.

In a statement, Ryan Meyers, general counsel of the American Petroleum Institute, said: “This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources. Climate policy is for Congress to debate and decide, not the court system.”

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the people of California by the state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, was filed late on Friday. It claims that starting in the 1950s, the companies and their allies intentionally downplayed the risks posed by fossil fuels to the public, even though they understood that their products were likely to lead to significant global warming.

I place some of the blame on Big Oil. The industry should have diverted some of its enormous resources years ago to counter the ‘climate crisis’ inanity through media, education, and research projects. Now, it is forced to scramble against the Green Energy Regime.

Fortunately, this important American industry has facts behind it. Dr. Matthew Wielicki, Earth scientist and climate science analyst, dissects the first claim that “The State Has Suffered, Is Suffering, and Will Suffer Injuries from Defendants’ Wrongful Conduct”:

California is being impacted and will continue to be impacted in years and decades to come by higher average temperatures and more frequent and severe heat waves. The last nine years have been the nine hottest on record, and that trend is only expected to continue. These changes will pose a risk to every region of the state. Severe harms from rising temperatures are already a reality in many frontline communities. Members of frontline communities tend to work in occupations with increased exposure to extreme heat, such as the agricultural, construction, and delivery industries.

However, when we look at the observed number of extremely hot days, we see that observations in the 2020s are on par with those observed in the 1930s, when atmospheric CO2 concentration was ~308ppm.

Wielicki has much more analysis at Substack.

Furthermore, if carbon dioxide (a life-essential gas) is the culprit in this climate drama, Big Oil can point to China for the significantly increased contribution.

…[T]he leading contributor of atmospheric carbon emissions is coal, not oil. Asia — especially China — dominates coal consumption. California’s lawsuit narrowly targets predominantly U.S. oil companies when the global challenge is far broader.

How responsible is China’s coal consumption in the overall scheme? How about overall Asia Pacific emissions, which dwarf those of the U.S. and EU?

The reason that graphic looks like that is coal burning in Asia, not lies from Big Oil. Note that emissions in the U.S. aren’t a lot higher than they were 50 years ago, and emissions from oil are a subset of overall emissions. Where, exactly, is Big Oil’s culpability in this graphic?

I hope the petroleum companies have learned some valuable lessons about pacifying woke activists intent on destroying the fossil fuel industry.

The real facts are not with California. Unfortunately, facts are sometimes not a factor in court decisions.

Meanwhile, I personally hope Big Oil doesn’t consider other response options.


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“Facts” have nothing to do with this. Sacramento needs more money.

    To pay the Reparations bill?

      diver64 in reply to jb4. | September 21, 2023 at 2:08 pm

      To pay those striking writers and producers. Cali is already borrowing our taxpayer dollars to pay unemployment as they have money. Now we get to pay people who walked off their jobs

        GusPatriot in reply to diver64. | September 22, 2023 at 2:43 pm

        The state defaulted on the loan from from the Feds for UI funds. As a result, the state now pays a higher rate, which is passed directly down to every employer in the state.

        They could care less about the residents and business owners in the state. They are wholly captured by the Green lobby and the unions. Illegals are 3rd in line. Everyone else gets to just pay the bill and reap the disaster cast upon them.

        Just think about Newsom in the WH. He’s been running a shadow campaign, and when Biden is out of the picture, watch him get vaulted to the top.

    Concise in reply to Whitewall. | September 21, 2023 at 11:24 am

    If you’re looking for the underlying cause of these frivolous lawsuits and just about every regulatory or legal ill perpetrated by the climate fraudsters since 2007, that would be the S. Ct. in Mass. v EPA, which defined so-called “greenhouse gases” as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Whitewall. | September 21, 2023 at 11:55 am

    California deserves to have much less oil, perhaps no oil derived products instantly. It would be fun watching as reality set in.

A fraction of a degree over centuries that is natural with human contribution too small to measure.

Doesn’t California now face the somewhat daunting task of proving in court that “Climate Change” is not only real, but is primarily caused by humanity’s use of fossil fuels?

Granted, it’s a San Francisco court, but what actual “evidence” could they have that the oil companies “knew” back in the ‘50s that their products were leading to global warming. The “scientific community” was talking about the next ice age in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

How are they going to prove their claims that the actions of the oil companies were directly responsible for the purported damages claimed by Plaintiffs?

    But you nailed it with this: “it’s a San Francisco court”.
    It’s a bunch of leftists, and they will decide it’s been adjudicated and proven. Then they will use that as precedent to make it “proven” everywhere.

    And, if you disagree, you’re a heretic and an infidel and the inquisition will either extract a recantation from you or you will suffer.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Idonttweet. | September 21, 2023 at 12:12 pm

    More important, how will they proof that California’s own thirst for oil was not a factor?

    DaveGinOly in reply to Idonttweet. | September 21, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    If the oil companies are responsible for “global warming,” they could possibly claim (just as baselessly as the claims in this suit) they prevented the predicted “new ice age.” And what would the state’s witnesses claim in response? That the “science” had been wrong about a coming global freeze?

    Good piece here by el gato malo (“Come for the cat. Stay for the toxoplasmosis.”)

      JohnSmith100 in reply to DaveGinOly. | September 21, 2023 at 5:50 pm

      Could am oncoming ice age be delayed or even stopped by intentionally pumping CO2 into the atmosphere? Who are the real losers with global warming? Winners?

      Do the real losers matter that much? Would evolutionary pressure help them catch up with other groups?

`”Believe in my lie or I will sue you until you do!” These people ae vile and dishonest beyond words. Next will be “Believe in my lie or I will throw you in jail until you do!”

And, in what way (besides fiduciary duty, where it might be considered fraud) is “downplaying risk” ever a crime or something over which you have a right to sue? ESPECIALLY as a non-injured party? And “impacting climate change” is (it should be, anyway) non-actionable. It should rightly be considered too nebulous to assign damages or even a factual assessment of what harm is caused.

(And, yes, I felt the same way about this when it was used successfully against the tobacco companies.)

Not only does climate science lack adult peer review, but the law system is no better.

Counter sue for intentionally misleading the public with not only distortions but outright falsehoods to diminish the reputation of the companies and loss of market share to EV buyers persuaded they were ‘saving the planet’ resulting in loss of shareholder value. Meanwhile shut down the exiting refineries and stop shipping fuel to CA until the ‘business, regulatory and legislative climate’ becomes more clear.

    Shut down all operations (including shipping) in CA, and remove their standing for at least all future lawfare.

      alien in reply to GWB. | September 21, 2023 at 9:58 am

      This. Sure, CA is a big market, but we’re constantly being told that the oil companies are part of a global conglomerate and nothing that they do in one country affects the rest of the world.

      Cut off CA immediately. In less than 72 hours, they’ll be eating each other.

      CommoChief in reply to GWB. | September 21, 2023 at 10:17 am

      Yes indeed. These companies should take absolutely prudent step to shut down CA operations so as to ensure no additional damages are done until the conclusion of the litigation and until the regulatory and political environment of CA is conducive to preserving and growing value for shareholders.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to CommoChief. | September 22, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Also stop electricity imports and al products derived from oil.

Keep going and relieve Ca. of their Statehood. Then reduce them to the status of ‘Territory’ until they quality for admission to the Union. Provided we still have one.

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | September 21, 2023 at 10:52 am

When anyone complains about global warming caused by “fossil fuels,” they need to completely stop using any products that are created by those “fossil fuels.” Until then, they need to STFU.

These include medical supplies, clothing, auto parts, cosmetics, toilet seats, aspirin, and many others.

Yet the totalitarian state only has useful idiots to prove mankind has anything to do with it. Decades ago East Anglia got caught lying and those lies have never stopped.

    Decades ago East Anglia got caught lying
    This is in reference to what? I don’t recall this, though there may be a vague cloud rolling in memory banks concerning it. (There are so many lies.)

      DaveGinOly in reply to GWB. | September 21, 2023 at 12:51 pm

      This was an episode in which climate researchers’ emails were published that revealed them making admissions about their tinkering with the data to make it support their conclusions/agenda. I specifically recall they admitted the Medieval Warm Period was an embarrassment to their cause, and they had to find a way to make it go away.

        Ironclaw in reply to DaveGinOly. | September 21, 2023 at 2:19 pm

        Then they got caught again a few year later, not only did they discuss their tinkering but also strategies to got get caught tinkering more.

        not_a_lawyer in reply to DaveGinOly. | September 21, 2023 at 10:54 pm


        Hide the decline! The Hockey Stick graph!

        Their latest fraud is to revise historical temperature measurements down so that it appears that the increase in temperature has been greater than it is.

        The climate researchers were exposed for the frauds they are by the release of their e-mail server records. Yet the global warming hoax continues to march on.

        On a scientific note, do not believe anything that their ‘models’ predict. Our understanding of all of the physical mechanisms that go into global temperature changes is woefully incomplete, but what we do know is that there are numerous coupled differential equations that go into it.

        Furthermore, these differential equations are non-linear, meaning that slight variations in initial conditions can lead to wildly varying results.

        On a sociological note, the cost of carrying out scientific experiments has become so great that only the largest organizations or the government can fund them. The scientists themselves are human, with wives, children, and mortgages. They will deliver scientific papers that their funders demand or they will be denied funding, and their livelihoods will shrivel away and die. There are very few modern Galileo’s out there now.

        On a legal note, I will reiterate what has already been said here. There is simply no way the plaintiffs can prove to a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ that CO2 emissions have caused harm to the environment. Even if the court of original jurisdiction finds for the plaintiffs, the appellate courts will shoot it down.


      Tim1911 in reply to GWB. | September 21, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      What in this comment could possibly provoke 3 downvotes?

        Ironclaw in reply to Tim1911. | September 21, 2023 at 2:20 pm

        Pointing out how the climate “scientists” are nothing but liars and that their “conclusions” can only be arrived at by manipulating the data. It’s too much for most of the cultists.

          henrybowman in reply to Ironclaw. | September 22, 2023 at 2:07 am

          I wouldn’t have thought we’d have three of those here!

          CommoChief in reply to Ironclaw. | September 22, 2023 at 8:13 am

          IMO, it was Karens attempting to police the tone of the comment. Lots of that sort of thing going around. The Karens are more interested in ‘how’ v what in comments.The Karens focus on how the comment makes them feel instead of the accuracy/inaccuracy of the comment. The odd part is that it sometimes appears from the timing of the posts/down ticks that zealous Trump supporters do it as well. Very ironic.

        JohnSmith100 in reply to Tim1911. | September 22, 2023 at 3:26 pm

        Something similar to TDS.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | September 21, 2023 at 11:52 am

When it comes to the “climate crisis” the leftist inhabitants of places like California have lurid imaginations. But they are utterly incapable of imagining what life would be like for nearly everybody if the fossil fuel companies quit producing.

I can see them now, down by the river slapping their clothes against the rocks trying to get them clean. “Nobody told us about this!”

Democrats then: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
Democrats now: It’s against the law to disagree with the government’s position.

I honestly believe the State of Commiefornia should get exactly what they want. Every oil company should refuse to do business in that State from this point on. No drilling, no shipments. Let the Stat e of Commiefornia pay even more to import their oil from neighboring States, at their own expense, in their own tanker trucks.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Ironclaw. | September 22, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Neighboring states should not sell to them on principle. Let them refine synthetics to make oil. Remember that song about California girls, he didn’t notice that by 30 they weren’t so hot, too much sun.

The oil companies should get together and hold a press conference about this and state: “since the State of California is suing us for Climate we are ending all activity in the state in the next week and closing refineries, ending gas to gas stations, ending all other forms of energy as the state does not want fossil fuels we provide.” This will cause a major shock on tax loss and the affect to how things run in the state within the week. This lawsuit will end quickly.

    AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to JG. | September 21, 2023 at 5:34 pm

    But, but, but, how will they be able to recharge EVs? With windmills and solar panels?

    I’ve heard of the diesel generators running behind EV chargers.

History Book:

Once upon a time people believed they were tormented by witches and then went about seeking them out for punishment.

Salem MA 1690’s?

No, California 21st century. We evolved.

Naturally, if they’re actually serious, the very first thing they have to do is to shut down all oil and refining activity in the state. Well, except for enough to support the needs of government, the bureaucracy and, of course, the leftist elite.

There should be an expedited motion for dismissal procedure rule for defendants to dismiss manifestly frivolous suits — with defendants’ attorneys’ fees assessed to the plaintiffs, as a punitive measure for bringing a meritless and vindictive suit in the first place.

As soon as you learn your customer is an unreconstructed ingrate, terminate all relationships expeditiously.

I would like to sue the bastards who made he prices go up so much.

Oil companies or gummint?

Both? Because oil companies would never price gouge would they? /S