Connecticut Attorney General William Tong Monday announced a lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil alleging the oil giant has known for decades that burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change, but that the company deceived the public about the connection.
Tong claims the company has known since the 1950s that burning fossil fuels contributed to global warming.
“ExxonMobil sold oil and gas, but it also sold lies about climate science. ExxonMobil knew that continuing to burn fossil fuels would have a significant impact on the environment, public health, and our economy. Yet it chose to deceive the public. No more,” Tong said in a news release. “ExxonMobil made billions of dollars during its decades-long campaign of deception that continues today. Connecticut’s citizens should not have to bear the expense of fortifying our infrastructure to adapt to the very real consequences of climate change. Our case is simple and strong, and we will hold ExxonMobil accountable.”
He filed the lawsuit under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
According to Tong, before it was a combined company, Exxon conducted its own research in the 1970s and 1980s that showed refining and burning fossil fuel products it sold contributed to climate change and that climate change could have catastrophic effects on humanity. Beginning in the 1980s through present day, Tong said Exxon and then ExxonMobil hid its research and conducted a campaign of deception through advertising, skewed research papers, public speeches, books, and presentations.
ExxonMobil responded to NBC Connecticut's request for a comment on the lawsuit on Monday afternoon:
"Legal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change. ExxonMobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy. The claims are baseless and without merit. We look forward to defending the company in court."