TheVoiceOfJoyce In a test case case, Puerto Rico is suing Exxon, Shell, Rio Tinto & BP , Individually and through their trade association formed The Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a not for profit Corporation designed to influence, advertise and promote their interests, knowing they were giving false information about fossil fuels. The Lawsuit argues that Fossil Fuel organization knowingly conspired against consumers to keep Fossil Fuel sales high and profitable. They also allege, the GCC was a propaganda machine designed to oppose the Kyoto protocol. The Fossil Fuel industry intentions are documented and date back to 1989. This is the latest in a wave of Class Action Lawsuits brought by municipalities, towns and cities , against Corporations accused of causing harm to residents. Puerto Ricans are fighting back to force a settlement to help them survive the effects of greenhouse emissions on their Island. The Island never recovered from the effects of Hurricane Maria . Puerto Rico continues to suffer from climate warming and the island’s devastation.

In an ambitious move, an attempt will be made to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for “decades of deception” in a lawsuit being brought by communities in Puerto Rico that were devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“Puerto Rico is one of the most affected places by climate change in the world. It is so precariously positioned – they get hit on all fronts with hurricanes, storm surge, heat, coral bleaching – it’s the perfect place for this climate litigation,” said Melissa Sims, senior counsel for the plaintiffs’ law firm Milberg.

The 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) Act was originally intended to combat criminal enterprises like the mafia, but has since been used in civil courts to litigate harms caused by opioids, vehicle emissions and even e-cigarettes as organised crime cases.

Now, the first-ever climate change Rico case alleges that international oil and coal companies, their trade associations, and a network of paid thinktanks, scientists and other operatives conspired to deceive the public – specifically residents of Puerto Rico – about the direct link between their greenhouse gas-emitting products and climate change.

This fossil fuel enterprise, which remains operational according to the lawsuit, resulted in multitude of damages caused by climate disasters that were foreseen – but hidden – by the defendants in order to maximise profits.

The plaintiffs are 16 municipalities in Puerto Rico – towns and cities that were hit hard by two powerful hurricanes in September 2017, Irma and Maria – which led to thousands of deaths, food shortages, widespread infrastructure damage and the longest blackout in US history.

Sims, the senior counsel, said: “What’s different about this [Rico] case is that we have their enterprise in writing – the decision by rival companies, their front groups, scientists and associations to act together to change public opinion regarding the use of their consumer products by telling people something that they knew was not true.”

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