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California is taking legal action against some of the world’s most significant oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and the American Petroleum Institute. The lawsuit accuses these companies of alleged environmental and financial harm, in addition to public deception about the risks of fossil fuels.

According to the lawsuit, these companies have been intentionally downplaying the risks of fossil fuels since the 1950s, fully aware of the potential for a global warming crisis. The state is now demanding the establishment of an abatement fund to cover future costs of climate-related disasters in California, as part of their ongoing efforts to combat climate change.

The lawsuit levels multiple accusations at the oil companies, including creating a public nuisance, destroying natural resources, and violating false advertising and product-liability laws. California’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, is a vocal advocate for the creation of a fund to cover the costs of recovery from extreme weather events and climate adaptation efforts.

However, the American Petroleum Institute, one of the entities named in the lawsuit, contends that debates about climate policy should be taking place in Congress, not the courts. Shell echoes this sentiment, promoting a collaborative approach to addressing climate change.

This lawsuit is part of a larger trend of legal actions against major oil companies. California is firmly aiming to expand clean energy and decrease emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. This legal action follows a precedent where companies had agreed to a $305 million settlement to establish an abatement fund after being sued by several California cities.

The suit represents a significant step forward in holding these multinational corporations accountable for their role in contributing to climate change. As the legal battle unfolds, it sends a clear message to the fossil fuel industry about the importance of responsible environmental practices and transparent communication about the risks associated with their products.