Groundbreaking Lawsuit Accuses Big Oil of Conspiracy to Deceive Public About Climate Change

Attorney Stephen Susman helped file a groundbreaking lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of 400 Inuit villagers in the Alaskan town of Kivalina who are being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by global warming. The suit accuses 20 oil, gas and electric companies–including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Peabody–of being responsible for emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases causing the Arctic ice to melt.

Earlier this week a judge in Georgia blocked the construction of a coal-fired power plant because the plant did not set limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

In what is being described as an unprecedented ruling, the judge said the plant could not receive an air pollution permit unless it limits its emissions.

Today we are going to look at the rapidly growing field of global warming litigation.

I am joined here in Aspen, Colorado by the attorney Steve Susman. He is the founding partner of the law firm Susman Godfrey.

Earlier this year he helped file a groundbreaking lawsuit on behalf of 400 Inuit villagers in the Alaskan town of Kivalina who are being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by global warming.

The suit accuses 20 oil, gas and electric companies of being responsible for emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases causing the Arctic ice to melt. Companies named in the suit include ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Peabody. The suit also accuses eight of the corporations of being involved in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the causes of global warming.

Susman and his legal team have adopted a legal strategy similar to that used by lawyers who fought Big Tobacco in the 1990s. Susman was also involved in that litigation – he was an attorney for the tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Steve Susman also recently represented the Texas Cities for Clear Air Coalition in their successful effort to block the energy company TXU from building 10 new coal-burning power plants. The case was featured in Robert Redford’s documentary, “Fighting Goliath—Texas Coal Wars.” Attorney Steve Susman joins me here in Aspen.

Steve Susman, founding partner of the law firm Susman Godfrey. He recently filed a pioneering global warming lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and 20 other oil, coal and electric companies on behalf of residents of the Alaskan Native coastal village of Kivalina.

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