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California's Big Oil Lawsuit Strategy Mirrors Fight Against Big Tobacco

SUN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A tow truck driver attempts to pull a stranded car out of floodwaters on the Golden State Freeway as tropical storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Sun Valley, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hilary impacts parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. All California state beaches have been closed in San Diego and Orange counties in preparation for the impacts from the storm which was downgraded from hurricane status. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California's Big Oil Lawsuit Strategy Mirrors Fight Against Big Tobacco

SUN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A tow truck driver attempts to pull a stranded car out of floodwaters on the Golden State Freeway as tropical storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Sun Valley, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hilary impacts parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. All California state beaches have been closed in San Diego and Orange counties in preparation for the impacts from the storm which was downgraded from hurricane status. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California's Big Oil Lawsuit Strategy Mirrors Fight Against Big Tobacco

This week, the state of California filed a massive lawsuit against oil companies. The charge is that oil companies knew they were causing climate change, and lied to cover it up. And now, California is suing for damages. The state is suing to force fossil fuel companies to help fund recovery efforts related to California's extreme weather related events — floods, fire, dangerous heat --which have been made more common and intense by climate change. Back in the 1990s, states across the country sued tobacco companies - demanding that they be compensated for healthcare costs associated with treating people for smoking-related illnesses. It was a long and complicated process, but states won more than $360 billion. The victory brought a big change to the tobacco industry, forcing companies to accurately label cigarettes as potentially lethal, and limiting where and how cigarettes could be marketed. Host Ailsa Chang speaks with Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity on the ramifications of the climate lawsuit.

SUN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A tow truck driver attempts to pull a stranded car out of floodwaters on the Golden State Freeway as tropical storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Sun Valley, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hilary impacts parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. All California state beaches have been closed in San Diego and Orange counties in preparation for the impacts from the storm which was downgraded from hurricane status. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

This week, the state of California filed a massive lawsuit against oil companies.

The charge is that oil companies knew they were causing climate change, and lied to cover it up. And now, California is suing for damages.

The state is suing to force fossil fuel companies to help fund recovery efforts related to California's extreme weather related events — floods, fire, dangerous heat --which have been made more common and intense by climate change.

Back in the 1990s, states across the country sued tobacco companies - demanding that they be compensated for healthcare costs associated with treating people for smoking-related illnesses.

It was a long and complicated process, but states won more than $360 billion. The victory brought a big change to the tobacco industry, forcing companies to accurately label cigarettes as potentially lethal, and limiting where and how cigarettes could be marketed.

Host Ailsa Chang speaks with Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity on the ramifications of the climate lawsuit.

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