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relates to Big Oil’s Climate Change Reckoning Finally Arrives in Court
Illustration: Kevin Hong
Business
Climate Adaptation

Big Oil’s Climate Change Reckoning Finally Arrives in Court

New York’s $1.6 billion lawsuit arose from a national effort to hold Exxon liable for global warming. It ended up being an accounting case.

Last month, millions of people around the globe gathered to protest what they consider a dangerous lack of vision among nations and industries when it comes to combating global warming, and the burning of fossil fuels that causes it.

Chief among those singled out were the companies that have, for the better part of a century, profited from the sale of coal, oil and gas. U.S. cities, states and environmental groups have turned to the courts in recent years, hoping to punish these energy giants through litigation. Specifically, they allege that executives hid their knowledge of humanity’s role in climate change while casting doubt on those who raised the alarm.