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| 1 minute read

Joint Democratic Staff Report Fuels New Climate Change Accusations Against Big Oil

On April 30, a Joint Staff Committee comprised of the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the Democratic staff of the Senate Budget Committee released a report that will likely turn up the private litigation and State AG heat on “Big Oil” companies in the United States. Entitled “Denial, Disinformation and Doublespeak: Big Oil’s Evolving Efforts to Avoid Accountability for Climate Change,” the report outlines alleged conduct of major oil producers in responding to emerging climate change research. The report alleges that these companies:

  • Knew as early as the 1960s that burning fossil fuels causes climate change;
  • Worked to undermine public understanding of climate change causes;
  • Tried to position natural gas as a climate-friendly “bridge fuel” between coal and renewable energy, “enmeshing” natural gas in the US energy economy;
  • Publicly pledged to support international climate goals while privately acknowledging that such goals were infeasible for their companies;
  • Relied on industry lobbyists and trade associations to spread confusing narratives;
  • Sponsored university research conditioned on its publication of conclusions favorable to its positions; and 
  • Delayed and obstructed the congressional investigation.

The accusations are summarized in a 60-page public report recently introduced by US Rep. Raskin.

Although the report’s allegations are likely to be rebutted by the targeted entities, they are certain to inspire more litigation against those entities — as prior congressional reports have done. Indeed, there are already a number of “climate change"-related lawsuits now pending by private plaintiffs and state attorneys general. This report is likely to add more fuel to the fire.


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