Yet moaah climate suing

temptUndeterred by being laughed out of court again, the New York Clown Posse are having another go: New York City sues ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute for systemically and intentionally deceiving New Yorkers. From which we may find their inspiringly-named Earth Day Lawsuit. But wait, this isn't just them rehashing the old nonsense, this is new nonsense, or at least a variant.

They're trying for "Engaging in deceptive trade practices in violation of NYC Code § 20-700", in three variants: "misrepresenting the purported environmental benefit of using their fossil fuel products and
failing to disclose the risks of climate change caused by those products"; "deceived NYC consumers by
engaging in false and misleading greenwashing campaigns"; and one for the API. The API one I think is dull; or at least, I don't care. The second count I also find uninteresting and not especially plausible. And for the sake of brevity-of-examples, I'm going to only consider Exxon. They're the Evilest, after all, aren't they?

But perhaps they have a case on their first grounds? This too seems dubious; indeed, surprisingly dubious. By which I mean that although they repeatedly say stuff like (p. 6) misrepresenting the climate impacts of various gasoline products sold at their branded service stations in the City. In a bid to reassure consumers that purchasing these products is good for the planet, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP advertise them as “cleaner” and “emissions-reducing,” but fail to disclose their harmful effects on the climate, it isn't until p. 24 that we get the first example, ExxonMobil Synergy. And that seems to be about it. And Exxon's marketing sin is According to ExxonMobil, Synergy Supreme+ will enhance vehicle fuel economy in newer engines designed to meet tougher vehicle emissions standards. Or perhaps helps consumers “[r]educe emissions and burn cleaner,” and “was created to let you drive cleaner, smarter and longer”. Or We’re continually innovating to develop products that enable customers to reduce their energy use and CO2 emissions. But sadly for New York, these claims are arguably true. The suit does its rather feeble best to call them true-but-misleading (actually I don't think they can bring themselves to admit they're true, they just say misleading, meh) but that seems unlikely to fly to me.

Also, some idiot has taught them to say "tobacco" as often as they can, under the mistaken impression that this amounts to logical argument. Or am I wrong about that? This is all politically driven; they probably don't even understand the concept of logical argument. If anyone has lied to New York consumers, it's New York pols.

Conveniently, there are reports on this, so let's hear it from ShellA spokeswoman for Shell told Changing America, "We are disappointed to see the City of New York file yet another climate change lawsuit after the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of what is functionally the same suit mere weeks ago. Tackling climate change is a significant challenge the world faces today; it requires smart policy from government supported by inclusive action from all business sectors, including ours, and from society as a whole. We intend to play a leading, transparent and collaborative role in helping society face this challenge." I think Shell have learnt to talk the talk better than new York has. I'm slightly doubtful that it is "functionally the same" but it's a good line to take, at least in public.



Phil said...

Global problem like climate change has a governance issue.

Lawsuits are one potential solution. Of course its wrong.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

The goal, of course, is money. The inspiration is the success of lawsuits against tobacco and other sellers of dangerous products who knowingly engaged in spreading dishonest propaganda. There is little doubt that EM and the API did the same. Given the current reactionary and pro corporate composition of US courts, the probability of success may be low, but the prospect of a big payday is enticing.

William M. Connolley said...

The ostensible goal is rather crudely money; that's what they're trying to hook the voters with: we will get you some luvverly unearned dosh. The real goal is votes.

As I've said before, I think the tobacco analogy is dubious; the tobacco companies genuinely did have secret knowledge. I'm doubtful the tobacco payoffs were honest either, and might well have failed if faced with today's supremes.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I thought I remembered when you posted stuff more interesting than "You climate kids get off my lawn!"

William M. Connolley said...

I agree this one isn't particularly interesting. The "Yet moaah" was intended as a hint in that direction for the discerning. But I have a collection of these things; I wouldn't want to miss one.

On a similar topic, there's some not-terribly-weird shit from Mann I'm umming about blogging. Maybe this comment will suffice.


the ' not-terribly-weird shit from Mann I' link is to a Moral Hazards of Coral Conservation in OPECland screed. Pretty good read, but not much sign of Mike Mann.

Did you mean to link Mike and Raypierre's latest in the Graun ?

There is some fairly weird aerosol news from the Caribbean. Because the high altitude winds there flow opposite to the tradewinds on the surface, much of the ash blown out of the Soufriere eruption is landing by the megaton on Barbados and the vivid coral reefs of the Windward Islands. Not Good.

William M. Connolley said...

My link is to "He’s a climate scientist working for the Saudis. Can oil money help him save the planet?" (https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/climate-change-scientists-duarte/). The bit I intended was “You know, that’s a judgment that we all have to make,” he said of Duarte. “There’s always a tradeoff. It’s a cost-benefit analysis. Perhaps you have an opportunity to influence and change their view. At the same time, they’re purchasing some moral license from you that you are legitimizing them to some extent.”

Hank Roberts said...

Koonin, continued:


William M. Connolley said...

I thought that ATTP had done Koonin so I feel no great urge to write anything. He is, as John Crowley so memorably put it, a stale pie left over from our ancestors' feasts.