The former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming after the oil companies and claiming that they are ‘knowingly killing people all over the world’ by playing a major role in triggering and increasing the global warming. Schwarzenegger has made the announcement on March 11 during a live recording and said that he is talking with several private law firms to aid the lawsuit. On the podcast, he said, “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.” He has compared the role of oil companies with the tobacco industry hiding the fact that people’s health can be severely harmed by smoking.
People should be made aware of how much their lifestyle can contribute to harming the environment. He said that any product which is produced or processed using the fossil fuels should have a label on it. Just like it is done with cigarettes, which is following the signing of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009. Schwarzenegger said, “Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco. Every gas station [should have a warning label], every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”
The former governor said that ignoring the effects of extracting and benefiting from fossil fuels should be compared to first-degree murder. He said, “If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first-degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.” He didn’t specify the oil companies which he is going to sue. He is also not the first politician to aim at those who are responsible for global warming. In January, Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio also revealed his lawsuit which would target fossil fuel companies BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. He stated that each of these companies “intentionally misled the public to protect their profits.”
Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer are planning to divest the city’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners. In almost 5 years, nearly $5 billion dollars could be deprived of the city’s $189 billion pension funds. In December, a series of lawsuits against oil companies were predicted by Reuters. Legal action over the climate change damages is under observation by a body of research linking individuals oil corporations with specific degrees of global warming.
A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) was published which found that the carbon emissions are linked to the 50 biggest private oil companies which include BP, Chevron, and Shell. They are responsible for almost 16% of the overall global temperature rise between 1800 and 2010. Brenda Ekwurzel, lead author and director of climate science with UCS, said, “We’ve known for a long time that fossil fuels are the largest contributor to climate change. What’s new here is that we’ve verified just how much specific companies’ products have caused the Earth to warm and the seas to rise.”