Prosecuting climate crime, one state at a time

We’re close to winning a victory in court to hold fossil fuel profiteers like Exxon accountable for their lies. We told you last month about a group of State Attorney Generals and local prosecutors bringing lawsuits against these companies for lying to us since the very beginning of the climate crisis. Now, it’s time to make them pay.

The New York case brought by Attorney General Letitia James against Exxon for fraudulently deceiving investors about its business and climate change just wrapped up and a ruling is expected soon. The US House of Representatives recently held a public hearing into what #ExxonKnew and when they knew it. And as New York’s case wrapped up, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced her state is suing Exxon too; joining prosecutors in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and dozens of other cities.

The dam has officially broken, and climate polluters are being called to answer for their crimes. Next month, a delegation will attend the global climate talks in Madrid, to share evidence, legal strategy and encourage other state, local, and national governments to open their own investigations and lawsuits.

Will you back them up by sending a letter to your U.S. Senators, your Representative in the U.S. House, and then your state’s Attorney General and say: I’m counting on you to hold Big Polluters accountable? Just click here to get started.

It’s time to hold Big Polluters liable — for the losses and damage they’re knowingly causing, and to pay for the solutions we need to transition to a just, sustainable future. It’s time to make them pay.

For decades fossil fuel giants like Chevron, Exxon, and Saudi Aramco made billions in profits, and spent millions funding denial and inaction. In fact, a report in the Guardian showed that just 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.

In opening her case against Exxon, New York Attorney General Letitia James said “This fraud reached the highest levels of the company.” And her case is making waves – she compelled former US Secretary of State and ExxonMobil strongman Rex Tillerson to testify in open court. And her case is just the opening shot in what some are calling a legal war that is just beginning.

The fossil fuel industry has caused and is continuing to cause grave damage to people and our planet. And just like we’re not all equally responsible, we’re not all impacted by this crisis equally: Around the world, low-income communities, indigenous people, youth, communities of color, and people in the Global South are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

And despite what their greenwashing advertising says, climate criminals are still up to no good. Last year the top five oil companies raked in more than $80 billion in profit, while fossil fuels spent more than $125 million lobbying (in the U.S. alone), and invested just 1% in renewables.

For the last few weeks, thousands of us have joined with dozens of organizations to demand world leaders kick Big Polluters out of climate policy, make polluters pay for climate crisis, to fund real, just solutions to address the climate crisis.

Elected officials are clearly paying attention — as the surge in lawsuits and congressional hearings indicates. Now is a critical moment to take action. Before the climate talks start, write to your members of Congress and your state Attorney General and urge them to take action to hold the fossil fuel industry liable for their decades of deception.

The climate crisis isn’t an accident, it’s a crime.

On indigenous peoples day — a holiday that reclaims the memory of this continent and how it was colonized, not discovered, by Europeans — it’s important to also remember that the climate crisis didn’t “just happen”; Like Columbus, this crisis didn’t arrive at random, nor are its impacts felt equitably by all.

So, how did we really get here? For decades fossil fuel giants like Chevron, Exxon and Saudi Aramco made billions in profits, and spent millions funding denial and inaction. In fact, a new report in the Guardian shows clearly that 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.

And despite what their greenwashing advertising says, they’re still doing it. Last year the top five oil companies raked in more than $80 billion in profit, while fossil fuels spent more than $125 million lobbying (in the U.S. alone), and invested just 1% in renewables.

We are simply not going to fix the climate crisis by reforming or relying on the fossil fuel industry. There’s only one thing they can do to help – pay up. Add your name to demand that fossil fuel companies like Exxon, Shell, and others pay for the climate crisis.

Last month’s global climate strikes were a moment to behold as millions of people worldwide took to the streets to demand urgent action on the climate crisis in the largest public demonstration in global history.

Our actions proved that we have the real, just solutions we need to address the climate crisis are within reach, many of them are already working in communities on the front lines of the climate crisis. What we’re lacking is political will to enact those solutions on the scale and timetable required. Fossil fuel companies and their dirty money is what’s holding us back.

Help us remove the block on our power – make fossil fuel companies pay for the climate crisis and eliminate the biggest profiteers, and the biggest force for inaction on climate.

Big Polluters can afford to pay for the damage they knowingly caused and are still causing. But they won’t do it unless we make them. Communities around the globe are taking action toward holding polluting industries liable for the damage they have caused. From constitutional amendments that recognize the rights of nature, to US cities like Baltimore that are suing to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the climate crisis; or
New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing Exxon for deceiving its shareholders.

The impact of these investigations and lawsuits can be profound. Like the legal actions that exposed Big Tobacco’s abuses and forced the industry to pay billions of dollars for the epidemic it caused and lied about.

But taking down the biggest, most profitable industry on the planet and making them pay for the damage they’ve caused won’t be easy. It will require a global movement to hold fossil fuels liable for the damage they cause. Add your name to the petition and urge decision makers around the globe to hold the fossil fuel industry liable so that we can advance climate justice globally.

Flooding can’t stop us, meet me in Ponca city

If you haven’t seen the photos of flooding in the midwest, you should. It’s one of the latest examples of how climate chaos is impacting people across America and around the world. This photo is from Nasa and shows the massive flooding in and around Omaha, NE (near where the Keystone pipeline is scheduled to be built).

But tons of communities across the midwest have been hit by this year’s floods – Including in Ponca, where we were planning a conference in May. The city and the Ponca people are ok, and the conference is still on. But it underscores that we need to do more than just look at the images of floods and fires that are the effects of climate chaos. We need to confront the causes of the crisis as well – and develop wholistic solutions that keep fossil fuels in the ground and build our power as people and as co-habitants in a global ecosystem.

That’s why I wanted to invite you to meet me in Ponca City, Oklahoma, May 16-18 for the Frontline Oil and Gas conference.

The conference will bring together hundreds of activists and impacted community members leading the fight against destructive oil and gas operations. There are also scholarships available to help activists get there and participate – but the first deadline to apply is coming up on April first. So make sure to visit the website and RSVP soon!

If you’re to learn about what other communities are doing to fight fossil fuels, meet inspiring community leaders, and learn innovative strategies that protect our land, air, water, and climate by recognizing the fundamental rights of nature — this is the place for you.

Not just another conference, this event is about building for frontline power.

As Ponca elder and conference founder Casey Camp Horinek says, “As a member of the Ponca Nation we are proud to host this event and tell our story, and give a platform for others to share, teach, and learn what we all can do to help each other change this cycle of illness and death due to fossil fuel industry not just in Oklahoma but around the world. Physically, mentally, spiritually we must create change for a better world for people and our planet, and for future generations. It is time to shed full light on the genocidal impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the people and all living things.”

Learn more about Mekasi Horinek and her work at the website of our partner, Movement Rights
Casey Camp Horinek at the Red Line action on the streets of Paris, during the UN Climate COP

The conference has an emphasis on innovative strategies led by indigenous communities, people of color and grassroots activists. There will be four learning tracks: indigenous, Rights of Nature, skills, and technical trainings. If you know anyone else who might be interested in participating please join me in spreading the word!

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