The City of New York in the US has sued three major oil companies and an industry trade group for allegedly misleading consumers by exaggerating the role that their products play in climate change.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Corporation Counsel James E Johnson announced that they have filed a lawsuit in the state court against Exxon, Shell, BP and the American Petroleum Institute claiming that the companies have violated consumer protection law through false advertising and deceptive trade practices.
The lawsuit argues that the promotions run by the companies claiming that the purchase and use of their fossil fuel products help in addressing climate change are misleading and false.
It further states that the advertisements fail to disclose the disastrous impacts associated with the use of these products.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the ‘greenwashing campaigns’ by the companies are aimed to increase sales by representing themselves as environmentally responsible entities.
The lawsuit seeks to block the defendants from using these practices and impose a penalty for every violation of New York City’s Consumer Protection Law.
Johnson said: “The defendants in our lawsuit have spent millions to persuade consumers that they present a clean, green choice. But they don’t. They say they are making meaningful investments to protect the environment. But they aren’t.
“They would like us to believe they are good faith partners in the drive to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and we don’t. Consumers are entitled to clear, accurate information about products they may choose.
“We are bringing this litigation to protect that right. The defendants’ deceptive practices are squarely prohibited by New York City law and cannot be allowed to continue.”
Notably, the move comes after a federal appeals court rejected the city’s effort to hold energy companies accountable for global warming.
In a separate development, UBS has further tightened financing criteria for those associated with coal-fired power generation and mining, Arctic oil and tar sands, as it ramps up efforts to decarbonise the global economy, reported Reuters.