Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has proposed a bill that would criminalize climate change dissent. The bill, called the “Climate Disinformation Act,” would make it a felony to “knowingly disseminate false or misleading information about climate change.”
So a group of left-wing senators led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecute the fossil fuel industry over its alleged climate disinformation campaign.
They wrote a letter Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Senate coalition — joined also by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — argued fossil fuel companies have conducted a “longstanding and carefully coordinated campaign” to mislead Americans about the risks posed by global warming and “discredit climate science” in pursuit of profits. If the DOJ were to pursue such a case again the fossil fuel industry, it would mark the first time the federal government got involved in climate nuisance litigation.
“The actions of ExxonMobil, Shell, and potentially other fossil fuel companies represent a clear violation of federal racketeering laws, truth in advertising laws, consumer protection laws, and potentially other laws, and the Department must act swiftly to hold them accountable for their unlawful actions,” the four senators wrote to Garland on Monday.
“The fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change and the role that burning fossil fuels play in increasing global temperatures for more than 50 years,” the lawmakers continued. “Despite these companies’ knowledge about climate change and the role their industry was playing in driving carbon emissions, they chose to participate in a decades-long, carefully coordinated campaign of misinformation to obfuscate climate science and convince the public that fossil fuels are not the primary driver of climate change.”
The American Petroleum Institute (API), the fossil fuel industry’s primary trade association, slammed the letter and reaffirmed its commitment to reducing emissions.
“The record of the past two decades demonstrates that the industry is achieving its goal of providing affordable, reliable American energy to U.S. consumers while substantially reducing emissions and our environmental footprint,” a spokesperson said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”
Today, @SenWarren, @SenMarkey, @SenJeffMerkley and I sent a letter to Attorney General Garland urging the DOJ to bring lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry for its longstanding campaign to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of massive profits. pic.twitter.com/2uQcu2uge5
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 31, 2023