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Billionaire-led corporations launch campaign to sway US Supreme Court in future-altering lawsuit: 'I have never, ever seen this kind of overt political campaign'

It could spark the dismissal of other similar lawsuits.

It could spark the dismissal of other similar lawsuits.

Photo Credit: iStock

Dirty energy allies are rallying to shield companies such as Chevron from lawsuits that would force them to pay for climate damages, the Guardian reported.

What's happening?

A number of states and cities are suing Big Oil for an alleged decadeslong misinformation campaign about the dangers of burning fossil fuels. Honolulu is at the center of this battle with a lawsuit that could force big players in the industry to pay for climate damages. 

Though Hawaiʻi's supreme court said the city's suit can go to trial, oil companies petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in February to review the state court's decision. The request argues that the case should be thrown out because pollution is a federal issue, not a state one, per the Guardian.

Meanwhile, industry allies — backed by billionaire-led corporations — have launched an organized campaign to sway the court, publishing opinion pieces in several national outlets such as Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal and leading a social media campaign. 

"I have never, ever seen this kind of overt political campaign to influence the court like this," Patrick Parenteau, senior fellow for climate policy and a professor at Vermont Law School, told the Guardian.

Why is this campaign concerning?

According to the Guardian, if the court grants the oil industry's request, it could spark the dismissal of other similar climate lawsuits.

This is concerning for human health, as dirty fuels such as oil, gas, and coal release nitrogen oxides into the air when burned, leading to smog and acid rain, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Breathing in the pollutants in smog can contribute to respiratory disorders, cardiovascular dysfunction, neurological disorders, and cancer. Excess nitrogen in the air can also pollute water bodies, leading to harmful algal blooms and oxygen-deprived aquatic zones, the EPA states.

Dirty energy also accounts for more than 75% of all planet-warming pollution, per the United Nations. As global temperatures continue to rise, we can expect to see more severe weather that threatens communities and food security.

What's being done about dirty energy?

Aside from the pending lawsuits against the industry, several cities and countries are taking a proactive approach to wean themselves off planet-warming fuel sources. For instance, Wales is banning most new roadway projects to reduce carbon pollution, and Los Angeles outlawed gas power in all newly constructed buildings.

Many major corporations are changing their approach as well. For one, HSBC, one of the world's biggest banks, will no longer finance oil and gas fields. Plus, companies including Microsoft, Walmart, Apple, and Meta are now America's biggest corporate solar energy users.

You can make a difference by changing the way you get around — try riding your bike more or taking public transit. You can also make your next car an electric vehicle.

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