Energy Attorneys Say It’s ‘Futile’ To Compare Oil Industry To Big Tobacco

exxon mobilAttorneys with the energy industry argue ExxonMobil investigators cannot show how the company’s decision not to disclose internal information about climate change is comparable to the effect the tobacco industry had on public health.

Investigations into whether the oil industry misled investors, policy makers, and the public about how much companies such as Exxon and Chevron knew about global warming threatens to add momentum to an anti-fossil fuel campaign that compares the investigation to a decades-old investigation of the tobacco industry.

Law firms working with energy companies say lumping Exxon, among others, in with the tobacco industry is a fool’s errand — and a move that will never hold up in court.

Lawyers affiliated with energy producers dismiss such claims as mere “futile efforts” by a fledgling anti-oil movement to uproot several decades of case law. In order to hold defendants liable, Kevin Ewing, an attorney with the Houston law firm Bracewell, told reporters, their actions would need some direct link to pain inflicted on the plaintiffs in a case.

“Tobacco was shown to cause specific harm to specific individuals,” he added. “Not so with climate change, where we cannot yet discern the factual connection between a company’s conduct and individual harm, even though we can observe the global effects of climate change at large.”

Ewing’s comments come as environmentalist groups continue to ratchet up campaigns to tie one of the world’s largest oil producers in with cigarettes.

“If you look at the history of tobacco litigation through the first several decades, the result was always the same. The plaintiff always lost,” Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law, told reporters Monday. “With each new case, more information came to public light. And that’s what we’re seeing here.”

Similarly, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, accompanied by Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Elizabeth and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, wrote a letter in May suggesting Republican efforts to stymie the Exxon investigation “reprises the tobacco lawsuit’s own early history of efforts from Congress to discourage or interfere with that lawsuit in order to protect the tobacco industry.”

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  • Avatar

    DMA

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    To my knowledge no one has shown any adverse effects of Exxon’s fossil fuels being burnt. There is positive correlation of CO2 emissions and longevity, inverse correlation of CO2 emissions and asthma, positive correlation of GDP to CO2 emissions, and positive correlation of greening and CO2 emissions. Do we have any examples of CO2 poisoning or CO2 induced maladys? How can there be any comparison of CO2 and use of a known carcinogenic substance?
    These political power hunts are not the result of reasoned thought but of emotional fear or desire for control of other peoples lives.

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    Although they’re all lawyers, they feel they don’t need proof. It should be declared self-evident fore they only need their extremist fanaticism.

    And who will rebuke them ?

    An extremist global agenda driven imposter in the White House ?

    A brazenly leftist Main Stream Media, that will not only fail to criticize but energetically push forward the globalist agenda ?

    The decimated military whose duty is to protect the American people, but which is now heavily populated by moslem adherents ?

    Will the American people be able to protect themselves ?

    What does anyone think the gun-grabbing agenda is about ?

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