Stein: Exxon Deserves the Death Penalty for Climate Change Fraud
October 26th, Lexington, Massachusetts
Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for President, said today that she supported bringing criminal charges against Exxon for its deliberate lying about climate change.
Stein said that Exxon should also be sued for stock fraud and for the damages caused by climate change.
“As President, I will crack down on corporate criminals like Exxon. Their fraud about climate change has contributed to the deaths of millions worldwide and has caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damages, with far worse to come. I would support putting the death penalty on the table for Exxon as a corporate entity,” said Stein.
Exxon apparently funded the climate change denial movement even though its own scientists had concluded that climate change was real. Senator Whitehouse and a number of Congressional Democrats have called for a federal RICO investigation of Exxon for their actions. Environmental groups have also been pushing state governments to take action as well.
Investigations by the LA Times and the Climate Action News, much of it based on Exxon documents, shows Exxon realized that climate change posed catastrophic risks to people. It was also aware of financial risks to the company if the use of fossil fuels had to be limited.
States have the power to revoke the charters of corporations that are organized in their states for criminal behavior. Stein supports a federal corporate charter revocation penalty for corporations that are repeatedly convicted of certain crimes. The charter revocation penalties would be applied to the type of morally laden, socially damaging crimes that meet the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s factors for increasing the severity of a sentence.
Stein also criticized the United States for joining with Japan and other industrial nations last week in Bonn Germany in banning civil organizations from participating in the last formal climate change negotiations before Paris.
“Obama and other world leaders have no problem allowing big oil to have a major role in the climate change negotiations, but they don’t want to allow the public to hear what deals are being cut to delay needed action,” said Stein, who has pledged not to take any campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry.
Stein said she supported the lawsuits brought by Our Children’s Trust against governments for failing to take action against climate change. These Atmospheric Trust legal actions are grounded in the Public Trust Doctrine, which states that it is the duty of the government to protect the natural resources that are essential for our collective survival and prosperity. These resources - rivers, groundwater, the seashore, and in this case, the atmosphere - cannot be privatized or substantially impaired because they belong to everyone equally, even to those not yet born.
“As President, I will use all available tools to take action to reduce climate change, regardless of Congressional gridlock. This will include both Executive Orders and litigation,” added Stein.
Stein said she supported the call by most of the world’s nations in Paris to lower the climate change warming target to 1.5 degrees centigrade rather than the 2 degrees cap pushed by Obama and other industrial countries. She supports transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and increasing funding by industrial nations to help the developing world deal with climate change.