The US is seeing a growing trend in holding major oil companies accountable for climate change

Xinhua- A new wave of legal and legislative efforts aimed at companies that use fossil fuels, is gaining strength in the United States (US), demonstrating a growing public effort to keep large oil and gas companies responsible for their impact on climate change .

A new national poll from Data for Progress shows that a majority of American voters, or 62 percent, support lawsuits against fossil fuel companies over their role in the climate crisis.

The poll, conducted May 3-4 among 1,206 likely voters, also found that nearly half, or 49 percent, of respondents support criminal charges against these companies.

Notably, support for lawsuits fell along party lines, with 84 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents in favor, compared to 40 percent of Republicans, the polling firm said.

The poll found that concerns about human health and the environment drove public support for lawsuits.

More than half, or 54 percent, of respondents who support lawsuits believe that fossil fuel companies’ practices pose a current and potential future threat to the public. Additionally, 43 percent point to the loss of wildlife due to climate change as a reason to hold these companies responsible. Demographics also play a role, with women, voters under 45, and college-educated individuals expressing more support for legal action.

These findings suggest that climate change lawsuits against oil and gas giants could enjoy strong public support, especially in Democratic-leaning areas, the group said.

The findings are consistent with a recent move by Vermont, which has become the first U.S. state to enact a law requiring fossil fuel companies to shoulder some of the financial burden of climate change damage.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott allowed the bill to become law without his signature on Thursday. The legislation requires a report by January 15, 2026, detailing the total cost of greenhouse gas emissions to Vermont and its residents from 1995 to 2024. The state will then use federal data to determine the share of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to each fossil fuel company. .

While Vermont is leading the way, other states such as Maryland, Massachusetts and New York are considering similar measures. The trend has drawn strong opposition from the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.

“This new punitive tax represents yet another step in a coordinated campaign to undermine America’s energy advantage and the economic and national security benefits it provides,” the group’s spokesman, Scott Lauermann, said in a statement Friday.

Meanwhile, legal action against fossil fuel companies is also gaining momentum. Michigan is poised to become the ninth U.S. state to sue these companies, joining California and other states that have already filed lawsuits.

The California lawsuit, filed last September, accused Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and BP of misleading the public about the risks of fossil fuels and their role in wildfires and other extreme weather events costing billions of dollars. have caused damage to nature. stands.

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