Exxon can no longer escape a trial for lying about the dangers of climate change. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Exxon can no longer escape a trial for lying. I mean, just lying for decades and decades about the truth of climate change and the dangers of climate change. What’s so amazing about this story to me, Farron, is that out of this is coming all these documents and you’ve you, you actually, you’ve written a couple of stories where you’ve taken the documents and you’ve said, this was done in 1965, 1970, where they said, yeah, there’s something here about climate change. And yes, we do believe that it’s manmade created climate change. And yes, our fossil fuels have something to do with it. I mean, we’re looking at the documents now. You can’t lie anymore. They wrote it. It’s in, you know, black and white.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And, and those are documents, I believe the first one was 1972.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Where they firmly admitted, this is real. We’re causing it. This is bad for us. So 72 ish, mid seventies maybe when Exxon admitted this, but you go back 20 years before that and this is the part of the documents that everybody misses. In the 1950s Exxons own scientists were saying, and this was before we knew about greenhouse gas, you know, the greenhouse effect, climate change, those weren’t words. They said, hey, wait a minute. We’re starting to notice this burning of these fuels that we’re producing is, it’s causing this build up in the atmosphere that this could lead to some kind of catastrophic climate effect, in the 1950s.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  And so 70 years, they have known and done nothing.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, and you know, the question is, how do you get, how do you get your arms around the catastrophe that people like Exxon have caused? Now here’s their list. Here’s, here’s what they’re doing. We, we know this because this is in their documents. They’re, they’re going to fashion an extraordinary campaign to hide the truth, in the documents, they know about it. They’re going to hire biostitutes. They’re going to go to universities and hire some professor who’s written two, two, you know, two paragraphs about the topic, pay ’em a million dollars and say it’s a bunch of bunk. There’s no such thing. We’ve already seen that. Their, the create doubt campaign. That’s, that’s part of their campaign, create doubt. They’re all, now part of their campaign is use influence with the media. We’re advertising so much in the media surely we can call people like Phil Griffin from C, MSNBC or whoever’s running CNN. And we can say, you know, I really wish you wouldn’t do that story because we’re advertising a lot with you. And that they, they capitalize, here’s what’s real interesting, capitalize on Citizens United. What does that mean? Spread money around and be sure we spread as much to Democrats as we do to Republicans. That’s part of their plan. Balance that money that comes between them. Focus, focus on media commentators. Seek out media commentators who will say, oh, this is ridiculous. And last of all, buy science.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. And, and it’s been this coordinated campaign, it’s been going on for decades. It gets more sophisticated with each passing year. But this particular lawsuit is really interesting to me because this one does have the potential for success because what they’re arguing, and this is Maura Healey, Massachusetts attorney general.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  She’s saying, listen, your lies to your own investors have cost these people money because you’re creating a mess that they will eventually have to pay to clean up, your company will, by lying to them you have caused them a direct financial damage.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  So unfortunately we have to go that route because, hey, wealthy people are gonna lose money.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But that’s about the only way you can get justice against a major corporation is by, you know, like Bernie Madoff, the only guy that went to jail in the whole banking scandal. It’s because he ripped off wealthy people.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  That’s what I see this as

Mike Papantonio:             That’s really well put. The, the, the scale is monstrous. I mean, you got coastal cities that are having to spend billions of dollars just to shore up the, the shoreline.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             So you don’t have condominiums that are ending up in the Atlantic ocean or the, or the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll follow this case more.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.