Schwarzenegger to Sue Big Oil for ‘First Degree Murder’ At SXSW, the former California governor lets loose on climate change, Donald Trump and gives his first in-depth remarks on #MeToo by Edward-Isaac Dovere, March 12, 2018, Politico
AUSTIN, Texas — Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next mission: taking oil companies to court “for knowingly killing people all over the world.”
The former California governor and global environmental activist announced the move Sunday at a live recording of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast here at the SXSW festival, revealing that he’s in talks with several private law firms and preparing a public push around the effort.
“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” Schwarzenegger said.
“The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.”
Schwarzenegger said he’s still working on a timeline for filing, but the news comes as he prepares to help host a major environmental conference in May in Vienna.
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” he said. “Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”
He argues that at the very least, this would raise awareness about fossil fuels and encourage people to look to alternative fuels and clean cars.
He added, “I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”
Schwarzenegger was at SXSW for an extensive discussion of lessons he learned in his seven years as governor, and how he’d apply them to the current political situation in Washington and beyond. On the list: Maximize the bully pulpit; use the carrot but have the stick ready; and no one gets a perfect “10,“ because there’s always room for improvement. Those, he said, were part of his art of the deal, and explained how he’d been able to institute major laws from worker’s compensation reform to environmental standards to a state election overhaul to implement independent redistricting and a “jungle primary” system, in which the top two advance.
Schwarzenegger also addressed, for the first time since the national reawakening around the #MeToo moment, the charges of groping and inappropriate behavior that surfaced from multiple women against him at the end of his first campaign for governor in 2003. He acknowledged that the change in the moment made a huge difference.
“It is about time. I think it’s fantastic. I think that women have been used and abused and treated horribly for too long, and now all of the elements came together to create this movement, and now finally puts the spotlight on this issue, and I hope people learn from that,” he said. “You’ve got to take those things seriously. You’ve got to look at it and say, ‘I made mistakes. And I have to apologize.’”
He stressed the importance of sexual harassment training, like the one he made his staff do once he was elected— including himself.
“We make mistakes, and we don’t take it seriously. And then when you really think about it, you say, ‘Maybe I went too far,’” Schwarzenegger said. “You’ve got to be very sensitive about it, and you’ve got to think about the way that women feel—and if they feel uncomfortable, then you did not do the right thing.”
The past few months, he said “made me think totally differently,” adding, “I said to myself, ‘Finally.’”
“The Republicans that are the new thinking Republicans in California want to get things done,” Schwarzenegger said, adding that he wants elected officials to remember, “ultimately, you are a public servant, not a party servant.” [Or an oil and gas company servant!]
He urged the GOP to pay attention to what happened in California, where Democrats have become completely dominant. Republicans there, he said, “are stuck with an ideology that doesn’t really fit anymore with what people want.”
He cited the environmental work of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as examples.
“Today, those are all things that are absolutely a no-no in the Republican Party. I didn’t change; it’s the Republican Party that’s changed,” he said. “Now we have to work very hard to get the party back to where it was.”
Back at the end of his presidency, Bill Clinton wrote Schwarzenegger a long letter that ended with Clinton urging Schwarzenegger to become a Democrat. Schwarzenegger said he wasn’t interested then, and isn’t interested now, for all his problems with Trump and the current GOP.
“That’s a fun letter, and I like supporting him on some issues,” Schwarzenegger said. “But the bottom line is that I’m a Republican, and I’m a true Republican, and I will always be a Republican. It’s a fantastic party, but they’ve veered off into the right into some strange lanes.”
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article misstated which president’s environmental record Schwarzenegger was praising. It was George H.W. Bush. [Emphasis added]
“..like an Alabama tick.” Terminator will sue Oil majors for Murder by Peter Sinclair, March 12, 2018, Climate Denial Crock of the Week
Getting Away With Murder — Arnold Schwarzenegger Sues Big Oil for Killing People by robertscribbler, March 14, 2018
Earlier this week, in his typically bombastic and bold style, Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he’ll be suing the oil giants. The reason? According to Arnold:
“They are knowingly killing people all over the world. The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill (emphasis added).”
[Of course the companies know, so do regulators, just like they know their “brute force and ignorant” frac’ing is killing workers, people, environment, sickening many, contaminating too many water supplies to count, destroying public infrastructure, polluting air, land, families, farms and food and more]
Like tobacco, fossil fuel burning is certainly harmful to people’s health. According to the Lancet, 9 million premature deaths each year are attributed to air pollution. Oil, coal, and gas burning are the primary causes of this pollution and, in turn, of these mass deaths. A far, far greater impact on the rate of human loss of life than warfare. And a primary contributor to heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and strokes.
Fueling Climate Disruption and Lethality
However, with instances of extreme weather, sea level rise, impacts to crops, rising heat waves, and worsening fires due to global warming also on the rise, burning oil is now producing a growing tally of external disasters that surpass the scope of most toxins. Global warming by fossil fuel burning increases the scale and scope of hazards produced by the physical world encompassed by our globe. It is thus more likely now that an individual human being will lose their livelihood or even their life due to factors related to human-caused climate change.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 150,000 people die each year due to direct effects related to changes in climate. However, the number of deaths resulting from indirect effects such as displacement, loss of food and water security, or loss of government and social services like healthcare, and the heat-amplification of harmful related pollutants like ozone is probably much higher. For example, in Puerto Rico following the devastating strike of Hurricane Maria and related loss of infrastructure, the overall incident rate of death significantly increased. Without reliable access to electricity, shelter, clean water, food and health services, due to a climate change related disruption, Puerto Rico became a more unpleasant, deadlier place in which to live. And, as a result, hundreds of thousands of people have fled the island.
These climate change spurred increases to human mortality don’t occur in a vacuum. They are caused by rising levels of greenhouse gasses. These gasses are emitted by the products produced by the fossil fuel companies of the world. And they are wrecking cities, states, homes. They are taking lives.
Sued for Murder, Climate Change Denial, Public Nuisance
There are three parts to any given murder. One part is that murder is an action that kills a human being. Another is that this killing is unlawful. And the third part is that the killing is premeditated. As Arnold says:
“If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies.”
The implication from Arnold’s civil suit being that the deaths caused by big oil due to climate change were both premeditated and unlawful. This is a higher charge than earlier claims against oil majors that they willfully misinformed the public about climate change or that their activities constitute a public nuisance.
(Arnold, like many moral leaders today is a promoter of the green energy revolution. But, increasingly, he and others are directly confronting the fossil fuel industry for the various and wide-ranging harms its products have caused. Image source: Twitter.)
Arnold’s push, however, is aimed at informing the public about the risks of fossil fuel use. He’s suing to have warning labels slapped on gas pumps and ICE cars that give people a clear understanding of the direct harm that comes from burning these substances:
“Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco. Every gas station [should have a warning label], every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”
A few of the comments:
Gingerbaker / March 14, 2018
The price of genocide is the printing cost of a few million stickers. Thanks, Arnold.
robertscribbler / March 14, 2018
There’s certainly a valid case to be made that warning labels are not enough. However, they have been effective in reducing tobacco consumption. Out-right bans are probably a more appropriate response. Of course, the scale of harm due to fossil fuel burning is far greater than that produced by the tobacco industry.
In the larger context, though, Arnold’s action adds to a growing chorus of suits against the oil industry. They’ve caused a systemic nightmare and they’re getting a systemic mass response.
robertscribbler / March 15, 2018
I think another way of looking at this is determining why we have culpability in the first place.
1. The fossil fuel companies have known about harmful impacts related to global warming since the middle of the 20th Century.
2. Rather than trying to correct the problem by investing in new energy sources, they instead have tried to cover the problem up.
This defines the difference between intentionally and unintentionally inflicting harm especially when:
1. The economies and various technological systems of the world are dependent upon energy to function.
2. If fossil fuels dominate markets you end up with consumers captive to fossil fuel use through no direct fault of their own.
As a result, if you are looking at the source of the crime, it’s from the industry that covered up the problem in the first place. In other words, it became a crime once knowledge of the harm was scientifically apparent and the agencies involved decided to do nothing about it and, worse, to delay any action to address the harm in the first place.
To be crystal clear:
1. The oil companies realize their products are dangerous and deadly.
2. Yet they try to force people to keep using them anyway.
3. This role is similar to that of the heroine dealer who knows that the product will ultimately kill the client but is willing to make money on it anyway.
4. This is why the tobacco analogy applies here. Especially considering the fact that:
5. Alternative useful and far less damaging energy resources are readily available.
6. The argument of mutual culpability, therefore, is a flawed false equivalency.
7. In other words, the usefulness of fossil fuels as an energy source is moot when continuing to use those fuels promotes civilization collapse, mass wreckage, mass casualties, and mass harm.
12volt dan / March 14, 2018
Sorry couldn’t help it :^)
robertscribbler / March 14, 2018
Jyre / March 14, 2018
its pretty funny really…
[Refer also to:
Compare to oil and gas industry’s schemes to deceive: Judge awards $15 billion to Quebec smokers; $1 Billion must be paid in the next 60 days, even if the companies appeal ]