The coalition against climate change deniers
In an unprecedented strategy to tackle global climate change, a group of state attorneys general have united in a coalition to prosecute companies that deny global warming.
At a March 29 press conference in Manhattan, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that the coalition will target, with legal action and fines, companies who commit “fraud” by lying about, or covering up, the dangers of climate change.
The coalition, AGs United for Clean Power, is comprised of attorneys general from fifteen states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, new York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington), as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Of the seventeen attorneys general, sixteen are Democrats, and one is an Independent.
Under fire for heavy liberal slant
Currently, Schneiderman and California Attorney General Kamala Harris are investigating ExxonMobil’s, claiming that the oil company covered up research linking fossil fuel emissions to climate change. ExxonMobil counters that the investigation is corrupt, since journalists who uncovered the research were funded by liberal organizations.
Al Gore, who spoke at the March 29 press conference, compared companies denying global climate change to tobacco companies who misled the public into believing that smoking was harmless.
Some view the coalition as a positive step forward for the United States, which has been slow to join worldwide efforts to reduce human-created climate change. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson argued that misleading information circulated by fossil fuel companies and their supporters has slowed progress towards addressing a potentially disastrous environmental problem.
“An affront to free speech and scientific dissent”
On the other hand, others argue that targeting companies for not buying into climate change theories is an affront to free speech and scientific dissent. The attorneys generals of Oklahoma and Alabama, Scott Pruitt and Luther Strange, who did not join the coalition, released a statement arguing that the “scientific and political debate” over global climate change “should not be silence with threats… by those who believe that their position is the only correct one and that all dissenting voices must therefore be intimidated and coerced into silence.”