The GuardianThe Guardian

A radical climate strategy emerges: Charge big oil firms with homicide

By Brian Kahn

22 Mar 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

There's a growing body of evidence that big oil firms purposely misled the public about the dangers of their products. Some researchers want them to be charged with homicide, The Guardian reports.

Oil companies have come under increasing legal scrutiny and face allegations of defrauding investors, racketeering, and a wave of other lawsuits. But a new paper argues there’s another way to hold big oil accountable for climate damage: trying companies for homicide.

The striking and seemingly radical legal theory is laid out in a paper accepted for publication in the Harvard Environmental Law Review. In it, the authors argue fossil fuel companies “have not simply been lying to the public, they have been killing members of the public at an accelerating rate, and prosecutors should bring that crime to the public’s attention”.

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