There’s a growing movement to make polluters pay their fair share for the damage their lies and pollution have inflicted on our climate and communities.

Since 2017, 8 states and 30+ municipalities have filed lawsuits suing Big Oil to hold them accountable for purposefully spreading climate denial and lying about their role in the climate crisis.

A growing number of states, led by Vermont, are also considering ‘climate superfund’ bills that would make polluters pay for climate adaptation and resilience.

Climate Lawsuits

Lawsuits are a powerful tool.

We can use them to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its role in driving the climate crisis, including by concealing the risks of fossil fuel use and lobbying against climate action.

These cases can take a variety of approaches.

Tactics include going after oil companies for deceptive marketing to requiring them to pay for climate damages.

Lawsuits to keep corporations accountable work.

Actions like these have played a major role in holding other corporations like Big Tobacco and opioid manufacturers accountable.

The image shows the words "Climate Superfunds" in black text, with a bright yellow circle surrounding the word "Superfunds".

The idea of a climate superfund is simple: if you make a mess, you should have to help pay to clean it up.

Based on traditional superfund laws, ‘climate superfunds’ would force the largest emitters to pay into a fund based on their fair share of emissions over an established period (often the last 30 years). The revenue would then be used for climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

In May 2024, Vermont became the first state in the nation to pass climate superfund legislation. Four more states are actively considering proposals and many more are expected to follow. 

Big Oil has known about climate change since the 1970s and they have spent decades discrediting climate science, downplaying its implications for their operations and protecting the bottom line of their companies at all costs.

Frontline: The Power of Big Oil