Climate Crossroads: Sue big oil for fraud, not just to ‘save the world’

Date: Monday, July 3, 2023
Complete Article: The Peak Newspaper

The Lower Sunshine Coast is just one of many arms of the Sue Big Oil movement. There’s another branch in the qathet (Powell River) area.

In this opinion column, Neil Abramson, a retired professor from SFU’s Beedie School of Business, explains why he’s changed his mind and joined the local Sue Big Oil group, which advocates for suing oil and gas corporations for damaged caused by climate change.


When I was asked to join the Sue Big Oil (SBO) committee, I thought it was crazy.

While oil companies sold us the oil and gas, it was we the people who burned it in our cars and homes. If oil and gas produced climate change, we were responsible. Besides, I’ve always been a corporate kind of guy.

I was wrong. Geoff Dembicki’s book, The Petroleum Papers, documents that Big Oil has known about the relationship between its products and climate change since 1959. They didn’t believe it. They did their own research to prove it wasn’t so.

When their own research showed that burning oil and gas was producing climate change, they kept the findings secret. They’ve known since the 1970s. Their own projections are eerily similar to the situation we face today.

Suing Big Oil is pretty conservative. A paper recently published by the prestigious Harvard Environmental Law Review argues that senior oil company executives should be charged with climate change homicide.

I’ve changed my mind. We should sue. Let Big Oil help municipalities recover costs incurred because of climate change, and keep our taxes down.

Big Oil has committed fraud for 50 years. They promised us everything was fine. They knew it wasn’t.

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