Look at the Exxon memo from 1979, if you have any questions regarding when the oil giant knew about the effects of fossil fuels on the environment. Their new tactic to protect themselves from lawsuits in reckless endangerment of the environment for personal financial gain? The First Amendment. Freedom of speech.
“Known for its hard-nosed tactics to battle any and all litigants, Houston-based ExxonMobil is using a Texas law to gain informational access to critics, on the basis that recent lawsuits filed against the oil giant are an unconstitutional violation of their right to freedom of speech.
The Guardian reports that currently, eight California municipalities have filed lawsuits against Exxon (and other similar firms for climate neglect), seeking compensation for the widespread damage caused by wildfires and other extreme weather brought on by the ravages of climate change. In response, Exxon is attempting to use Texas Rule 202 across state lines — a law that gives the corporation the authority to request and obtain mountains of information, from documents to depositions — to mount evidence that California officials are engaging in conspiratorial “lawfare” and infringing upon the company’s First Amendment rights.
In its petition to the Texas supreme court, Exxon claims “the potential defendants’ lawfare is aimed at chilling the speech of not just Exxon, but of other prominent members of the Texas energy sector on issues of public debate, in this case, climate change.”
“In courtrooms and boardrooms alike, recent progress has been made when it comes to exposing Exxon’s information coverups and promoting accountability. Though Texas may be more sympathetic to big oil, the pressure on Exxon is only growing. Oreskes summarizes the current moment succinctly:
They’re pushing their freedom of speech as an issue because more than any other company, it’s been proven by people like me and others that they have a track record of promoting half-truths, misrepresentations and in some cases outright lies in the public sphere. This is so well documented that unless they can come up with some strategy to defend it, they’re in potentially pretty serious trouble.
Big Oil and Congress
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has just broadened their probe into climate disinformation by Big Oil, inviting board members of fossil fuel companies to testify at a second hearing next month.”
Remind anyone of Big Tobacco tactics?
What makes this worse, is that they are getting billions in subsidies to pull fossil fuels out of the ground (A conservative estimate from Oil Change International puts the U.S. total at around $20.5 billion annually, including $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives. Oct 13, 2021). That is your tax dollars at work, hurting the environment.
What about support for clean energy? How much of that money goes towards greener solutions?
“The Energy Policy Tracker has collected data on how major countries have enacted new policies since January 2020 to help fund the energy industry.
It found that since the start of 2020, the world’s major economies have spent more funding fossil fuels through new or amended policies than clean energy…The Environmental and Energy Study Institute estimates direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in the US amount to $20bn per year – 80% of which goes towards oil and gas.
On top of this, the US provides a number of tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry to encourage domestic energy production.”
So your tax dollars are being spent on making money for an industry that has ignored climate science, and in fact, spread disinformation campaigns. Why isn’t there a law that all subsidies be spent towards green energy solutions? And why do they even need the subsidies at this point in time? We’ll, they can use them for legal fees to protect themselves against the mounting number of lawsuits! Which you as a taxpayer, are also paying for.
“Why This Matters
Rule 202 empowers corporations with deep pockets to go on endless “fishing expeditions” for incriminating evidence and is abused in order to intimidate critics and opponents. And the company’s attempted use of the rule comes at an awkward time. While trying to defend itself against claims of advancing climate denial and negligence using the First Amendment, Exxon has also just unveiled what it calls “a major initiative” to achieve net-zero emissions and prove its commitment to addressing climate change.”
If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Better buy it fast however. If the Thwaites glacier collapses in the next decade, as predicted by climate scientists, you may have difficulty getting access to the bridge, since roadways like the East Side Drive and BQE will be underwater. Why?
“If that ice shelf fails and allows the glacier to flow and melt freely, it could raise global sea levels by several feet, which will lead to an additional 10 feet of sea-level rise if it draws surrounding glaciers with it, which will endanger even more coastal communities. The eastern ice shelf now has cracks criss-crossing its surface, and could collapse within ten years, according to Erin Pettit, a glaciologist at Oregon State University. This work supports research published in 2020 which also noted the development of cracks and crevasses on the Thwaites ice shelf…If that happens, many of the world’s major coastal cities would feel the effects, including New York, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Tokyo. These events could also “swallow” some low-lying islands, essentially causing them to become submerged underwater.”
So, while Big Oil fights in court and intimidates its critics, as the world waits patiently for world leaders to aggressively address this existential crisis head on, the clock is ticking. Ten years will be here before you know it. Prince Ian of Arcturus has solutions to buy us time. The question is, will world leaders listen? See Prince Ian’s messages for world leaders on Tiktok for more information.