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24 Sep 2021

Joseph Choi, The Hill (USA)

USA: State of Vermont sues oil companies for allegedly deceiving consumers on climate change impact

“Vermont claims in new lawsuit oil companies misled public on climate change”, 14 Sep 2021

The Vermont state government … sued multiple oil companies [Exxon Mobil Corporation, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco LP, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, and others], alleging they misled the public about the impact that fossil fuels have on climate change.

… [The Vermont State Attorney accused] the companies of violating the Vermont Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) by ‘engaging … in numerous deceptive acts and unfair practices in connection with their marketing, distribution, and sale of gasoline and other fossil fuel products to consumers within the State.’

…[It is further] alleged that by misleading consumers on the connection between fossil fuels and climate change, these oil companies have denied ‘Vermont consumers their opportunity to make informed and different decisions regarding fossil fuel purchases and consumption.’

He argued that while increasing their output of environmentally conscious messaging on social media, these oil companies expanded their production and investments into fossil fuels, thereby negating what they said publicly.

[ExxonMobil commented] that ‘[l]egal proceedings like this waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change’

… In the past few years, [other US] states such as Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island have all filed lawsuits against oil companies for allegedly misleading consumers and investors in the role their products had on worsening climate change.