Climate deniers to the wall — 15 years ago

Checking back through the archives from our very first weeks at this site, I found this from August 1999:

In yesterday’s Washington Post, David Ignatius calls global warming a potential “plaintiff’s lawyer’s dream”, quoting former deputy energy secretary Lynn Coleman as saying that if doomsayers’ predictions prove accurate, lawyers could file trillions of dollars in claims against utilities, oil companies and others for weather-related effects. Significantly, Ignatius suggests (“the best analogy may be tobacco”) that future juries will be angered by some companies’ current boldness in debating the issue by way of counter-studies and newspaper ads. Apparently one “lesson of tobacco” is that it’s henceforth going to count as an independently punishable offense to defend one’s business in public controversy…

Devising punitive legal consequences for having argued the wrong side in public controversies isn’t just a notion Sheldon Whitehouse and Eric Schneiderman come up with the other day.

One Comment

  • The tobacco analogy is even more apt if Big Oil accepted anthropogenic climate change as a reality, and published bogus studies and bought off pundits and politicians to say otherwise.

    I’ve worked for Big Oil for a few years now. The smart companies see the writing on the wall, and even assume the reality of climate change as their official corporate stances.