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California sues oil giants alleging decades of deception

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The state of California has filed a lawsuit against some of the world's largest oil companies.

The companies sued are Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, along with the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group. 

The complaint says these firms caused extensive damage amounting to tens of billions of dollars while deliberately downplaying the risks associated with fossil fuels.

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The lawsuit was filed in a San Francisco superior court.

The suit marks one of the most prominent legal challenges the fossil fuel industry faces.

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It also underscores California's stature as the most populous state and a significant oil and gas producer. 

California's attorney general, Rob Bonta, filed the case, which seeks to establish an abatement fund to cover the future damages caused by climate-related disasters within the state.

The lawsuit alleges that since the 1950s, the oil companies and their allies have knowingly downplayed the hazards of fossil fuels to the public.

It claims they were aware of the likelihood of significant global warming. 

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The suit alleges companies have misled the public about their commitment to emission reductions.

The complaint says they benefited from record profits from producing planet-warming fossil fuels.

It further argues that the oil companies' actions have created a public nuisance.

It led to the destruction of natural resources and violated laws related to false advertising and product liability. 

The suit accuses the companies of actively disseminating disinformation on climate change, which delayed societal responses to global warming.

It resulted in extensive costs to people, property, and the environment.

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Heat, droughts, storms, wildfires and biodiversity loss

California's lawsuit details the extensive damages inflicted by climate change on the state.

It includes record heat, droughts, wildfires, extreme storms, coastal erosion, and biodiversity loss. 

The case seeks to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its actions over several decades.

While cities and states across the US have filed climate-related lawsuits, California's legal action is noteworthy due to the state's significant economic and political influence. 

It also seeks to establish a fund for recovery, mitigation, and adaptation efforts related to extreme weather events.

It aims to address the rising costs associated with climate disasters.

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