September 24, 2021

NEW REPORT from MN350’s Big Deception campaign: How Minnesota’s lawsuit holds climate polluters accountable for decades of lies

(Minneapolis, MN) — Today MN350 released a  report detailing how Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s lawsuit against ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and Koch Industries holds these climate polluters accountable for decades of lies. The report tracks the long history of disinformation, the methods used to disseminate that disinformation, and the impact on Minnesota residents.

MN350 and other environmental advocacy groups recently filed an amicus brief supporting Attorney General Ellison’s lawsuit. The brief was filed on behalf of six academics who have studied the fossil fuel industry’s history of climate denial and deception; other signers were MN350, the Center for Climate Integrity, Fresh Energy, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The state has calculated that Minnesotans pay more than $1 billion a year in costs related to the climate crisis. Many of these costs could have been avoided but for the disingenuous PR campaigns pushed by the fossil fuel industry to convince people their products are safe.

“Attorney General Ellison is holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for its words and its actions,” said Bella Garrioch of MN350. “In Minnesota we expect businesses to tell the truth. And instead we were lied to. Those lies led to massive harm that we’re paying for today. Minnesotans deserve justice.”

The report comes as momentum increases to get to the bottom of the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long disinformation campaign to hide its responsibility for the climate crisis. Last week the U.S. House Oversight Committee  announced an Oct. 28 hearing on the role of disinformation on the climate crisis, writing in a letter to fossil fuel executives:

“We are deeply concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped massive profits for decades while contributing to climate change that is devastating American communities, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and ravaging the natural world. We are also concerned that to protect those profits, the industry has reportedly led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change.”

The letter noted that between 2015 and 2018, the five largest publicly traded oil and gas companies reportedly spent $1 billion to promote climate disinformation through “branding and lobbying.”

Also last week, Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan joined Ellison and six other Attorneys General in suing oil giants for misleading the public about the climate catastrophe they knew their products would cause.

Read the report and find out more about Minnesota’s efforts to hold Big Oil accountable at MN350’s Big Deception Campaign website.