This article discusses the statements made by the oil industry – climate change is real. In a court hearing in San Francisco, oil companies publicly backed the science of climate change.
In a federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, major oil companies concurred with the “scientific consensus,” saying it was “extremely likely” that human activity has been driving global warming since the middle of the 20th century. They just don’t think they can be sued for it.
“Chevron accepts what the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has reached consensus on concerning science and climate change,” said Theodore Boutrous, who represents Chevron and is heading up the assorted legal team for the five oil companies that are defendants in this lawsuit. But, he said, that didn’t mean that a civil lawsuit was the right way to address climate change. “It’s a global issue that requires global action,” he said.
Over the course of two hours, Boutrous ran through the findings of the most recent IPCC report (released in 2013), acknowledging that global temperatures were rising due to carbon dioxide caused by human activity, that other factors were negligible, and that as a result, sea levels were rising. No time was given to any denials of climate science, with Boutrous sticking closely to the substance of the IPCC report. Even his attempt at implying that his client was not at fault was framed within the substance of the IPCC report; he said that the report never said “extraction or production” of oil was the cause of carbon dioxide emissions, but rather the “economic activity” that burned fossil fuels.
Here is his rationale: Boutrous seemed to say that fossil fuel companies aren’t responsible for how people use their products. “IPCC doesn’t say that the extraction or production of fossil fuels leads to emissions,” Boutrous said. “It’s energy use, the economic activity, that drives the demand for fuel that leads to emissions.” That’s the same rationale used by the tobacco companies – we just make them, not smoke them.