Editorial: New Jersey sues “big five” oil companies over “climate change” denial, but does the suit have merit?

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The following may included content which is editorial in nature and reflects the opinion of the writer.

JERSEY CITY, NJ- In the latest edition of liberals have lost their ever-loving minds, the State of New Jersey has filed a 200-page civil suit against five major oil and gas companies, they announced Tuesday afternoon.

The suit (no, this is not a Babylon Bee satire story) alleges the companies have lied to residents of the state about “the existence and impact of”…wait for it…climate change, NJ.com reports.

Yes, from the same states that teaches second graders about gay sex, they allege the five companies have been aware since the 1950s that burning fossil fuels is behind global climate change which they allege “environmental experts” have determined are causative of “catastrophic storms” like Hurricane Sandy, which hit the eastern United States ten years ago, claiming storms are now “more damaging.”

Let’s remind you all that Hurricane Camille, which struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969 as a Category 5 storm, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which struck the Florida Keys, and Hurricane Andrew, which hit the Atlantic coast of Florida in 1992 were all much stronger storms than Sandy.

Yet members of the global warming cult continue to insist that storms “are getting worse.”

In a press conference, New Jersey officials attempted to make their case for suing the Big Five oil companies.

“But instead of sharing that knowledge, these companies undermine the science. They lie to us. It was intentional. It wasn’t some error of omission,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said at the press briefing.

“Because the science was inconvenient for them. Not for us, not for the people. But for them. It signaled now what is well known: that the planet is warming at an alarming rate.”

Remember, as recently as in 2015, some scientists were warning that the climate was cooling, not warming. Dr. Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, who wrote over 150 peer-reviewed papers made the claim.

“Rather than global warming at a rate of 1°F per decade, records of past natural cycles indicate there may be a global cooling for the first few decades of the 21st century to about 2030,” Easterbrook said.

He then continued that period will be followed by “global warming from about 2030 to 2060” which will then be followed by another cooling spell from 2060 to 2090.

He further said that global cooling would be much more harmful to humans than global warming.

“However, the bad news is that global cooling is even more harmful to humans than global warming, and a cause for even greater concern,” he said.

Among reasons for concern he said is that food production would suffer due to shorter, cooler growing seasons and bad weather during harvest.

The lawsuit names Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, Chevron, BP, Conoco Phillips, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, a trade organization of which all five companies are a member. According to Attorney General Matt Platkin, as well as officials with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Environmental protection, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of New Jersey residents.

“Addressing a challenge as big as climate change requires a truly collaborative, society-wide approach. We do not believe the courtroom is the right venue to address climate change, but that smart policy from government, supported by action from all business sectors, including ours, and from civil society, is the appropriate way to reach solutions and drive progress,” Anna Arata, a spokesperson for Shell Oil said in a statement sent to NJ Advance Media.

BP did not provide comment on the lawsuit, at least initially while ConocoPhillips said it is “company practice” not to comment on litigation.

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Meanwhile, Theodore J. Boutros, Jr. of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, counsel for Chevron, referred to the lawsuit as “a distraction from the serious problem of global climate change, not an attempt to find a real solution.”

“These suits serve only to divert attention and resources away from the collaborative, international efforts that are critical to developing a meaningful solution to climate change. Chevron believes that the claims asserted are legally and factually meritless, and will demonstrate that in court,” Boutrous said in a statement.

The lawsuit announced Tuesday mirrors one filed by the city of Hoboken, which suffered significant damage from the 2012 hurricane. In Jersey City, 38 people died while there was billions in property damage throughout the state.

“It is abundantly clear that Big Oil’s decades-long campaign of misinformation has an outsized impact on coastal cities like Hoboken, as we are forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to adapt to climate change,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said after the Tuesday presser.

New Jersey is just the latest in a series of blue states that have made similar claims against the fossil fuel industry, as part of the Democrat Party’s mission to completely destroy the fossil fuel industry in the United States.

Those states include Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, as well as the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

“This lawsuit will seek administrative penalties, compensatory damages, natural resource damages, and punitive damages. We’ll ask the court to stop their lying [kind of subjective] and pay for the costs from their conduct to New Jersey,” Platkin said Tuesday.

NJ.com reached out to New Jersey’s far-left Gov. Phil Murphy for comment, however his office said they do not comment on active litigation.

A spokesman for Exxon Mobil, Casey Norton said New Jersey was simply wasting “millions of dollars of taxpayer money” while doing “nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”

“Exxon Mobil will continue to invest in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society’s growing demand for energy,” Norton said in a statement.

Platkin, when asked to respond to Exxon Mobil’s statement snarked, “We’ll see them in court.”

The so-called “natural resource damages” being sought by the Garden State makes the claim that taxpayers will have to bear ‘billions in expenses to protect communities from rising sea levels, deadlier storms, and other climate-related harms,” all subjective.

Moreover, New Jersey officials claim the oil companies violated the Consumer Fraud Act through a series of misrepresentations which took the form of a “climate denial” campaign, which they claim began in the 1980s and relied on groups such as the aforementioned American Petroleum Institute, court documents read.

“The record of the past two decades demonstrates that the industry has achieved its goal of providing affordable, reliable American energy to U.S. consumers while substantially reducing emissions and our environmental footprint. Any suggestion to the contrary is false,” a spokesman for the American Petroleum institute said.

Some New Jersey officials actually appeared to unwittingly undermine the state’s claim that storms are becoming “stronger and more deadly.”

For example, Daniel Kelly, executive director of the state’s Disaster Recovery Office claimed Sandy was one of the worst storms to hit the state…not the worst. It was just the most recent.

The New Jersey state director for the Sierra Club, a far-left environmental group, claimed that “accountability matters” in defending the lawsuit, while claiming that “we continue to see harsher climate impacts, more hurricanes, more flooding and more destruction.”

So, let’s examine that statement that there are “more hurricanes.”

According to Stormfax.com, going back 20 years from 2017 (latest data available), the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest, with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, 7 of which were called “major” hurricanes.

During those 20 years, there was an average of around 15 named storms per year. The average of hurricanes per year was 8 (7.5); and finally the average of major hurricanes per year was 3 per year. If you take out 2005 as an outlier, the numbers are lower. So where is the data backing up “more hurricanes?” Answer—there isn’t any.

“More destruction?” Probably but that’s because despite the so-called “threat” of climate change, people continue to build buy houses on the coast, including some of the very people who rail about the subject, such as “climate czar” John Kerry and former President Barack Obama, among many others.

This would seem to be simply a way for New Jersey to shake down the oil companies while hoping for a settlement to make them go away.

In an opinion piece on Fox News, meteorologist Joe Bastardi debunks the whole global warming hysteria, writing that “science is not a belief system based on feelings or subjective motives. It is about facts, evidence, theories and experimentation in search of a conclusion.”

He cites a comment made by former bartender turned obnoxious New York Congresswoman Sandy Cortez (aka AOC), where she said “the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” a statement Bastardi said “designed to elicit panic but hardly based on fact.”

As Bastardi noted, there is no such thing as “settled science,” and he includes climate change in that definition. Bastardi noted that in the “fossil fuel era, in spite of a four-fold increase in population, deaths have plummeted,” posting  a chart that noted climate related deaths fall below on-climate related deaths.

He also wrote that at that time, world prosperity was rising while poverty was falling. (NOTE: This was pre-pandemic, those statistics may have shifted somewhat).

Moreover Bastardi noted that over the geological history of our planet, there is no apparent connection between carbon dioxide and temperature.

He also said that while a number of current (or recent events in the case of Hurricane Sandy) are used to “whip up hysteria,” there have always been past events which were much more significant, however since they don’t further an agenda, they are ignored.

Bastardi’s comments were prophetic, given the direction our country has been headed over the past 21 months, noting that “wind farms and solar panels won’t get the job done” of supplanting fossil fuels for our energy needs, at least in the near term.

He posed the question:

“Are the consequences of acting hastily worse than not acting at all? I think many are skeptical of rushing forward. We must rein in the political hysteria and fearmongering that is driving the climate change agenda.”

Perhaps the zealots running the show in New Jersey should take that advice.


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