Friday, April 01, 2016

Thirty Years of Climate 'Deception' Could Become Offense Under New Calif. Law

Fossil fuel companies in California could face investigation under legislation introduced by a state senator who says the proposed law is designed to hold industry accountable for "many years of public deception" and fraud over the scientific evidence about climate change. The Climate Science Truth & Accountability Act would extend the statute of limitations under California's Unfair Competition Law from four to 30 years, giving greater leverage to state and local prosecutors to file civil charges in connection with the conduct of fossil fuel companies going back decades. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), would give prosecutors authority to delve into the issues dating to the heart of the denial era. The legislation was inspired by investigative news stories, including those by InsideClimate News (ICN), and an investigation by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) that disclosed ExxonMobil and the oil industry were aware of the dangers of global warming from the burning of fossil fuels as far back as the 1970s. The ICN stories and later articles by the Los Angeles Times in tandem with the Columbia University Journalism School—along with a UCS report last year—revealed that the company went on to spearhead industry efforts in the late 1980s to derail regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and cloud public understanding of climate science...more

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