City of Chicago v. BP PLC

Nice of the 2/20/24 Chicago Sun-TimesChicago sues five giant oil companies” article to inadvertently point directly to what the potentially lawsuit-killing combined problem is with this latest “ExxonKnew” lawfare effort: the apparent need to bring in the California law firm Sher Edling for assistance, and the collective idea that fossil fuel companies knew of the harm of “climate change” fifty years ago but hid that from the public. Same story at the Chicago Tribune. The same Tribune which reported fifty years ago (2024-50=1974) that the changes in the climate caused by the burning of fossil fuels was global cooling.

A climate changing to a cooler one in 1974. A climate changing to a hotter one in 2024. You can’t have it both ways. So much for elemental fact-checking / investigative journalism in 2024. And of course, neither newspaper could be bothered to check the veracity of accusations presented in this – yes it is – latest boilerplate copy filing straight out of Sher Edling’s San Francisco offices. How do I know it’s another boilerplate copy where Chicago’s own city lawyers very likely had little or no input to offer? Let’s dive into Chicago v BP PLC et al.: (my own PDF download file here, if that link ceases to function)

First, however, I was thinking Sher Edling would not be able to come up with any new way to hand its head on a silver platter to the defendant companies in any new lawsuit they wished to add to their boilerplate copy pile. I was wrong. They did — hold that thought until my checklist item about their citation source switch for their accusation against astrophysicist Dr Willie Soon.

Chicago v BP claims Exxon et al. “knew” (hence, the “ExxonKnew” lawsuits label) as far back as the 1970s that they were harming the planet. Same basic accusation back in the 2017 start for Sher Edling with their San Mateo County v Chevron filing. In two places, identical words shared between this latest one and their first filing. Want to see an even closer matchup? Try Sher Edling’s Dec 2023 twin Indian Tribes lawsuits. That pair just left out the bit in Chicago about “in the minds of …” and instead had three other extra words. Want to see where all of those words were previously included? Try Sher Edling’s Honolulu v Sunoco. No need for your own municipality’s lawyers to get in the way, just bring in the San Fran law firm.

But just like I pointed out up above using one of the old newspaper clippings from Tony Heller’s RealClimateScience blog, I’ll point out again using one of his most recent finds, one way to stop the climate from changing to a cold one was – no joke – to dam the Bering Strait to keep the cold water way up north. 1974 geo-engineering. These days, the proposal is to pump particles into the air to induce cooling and stop runaway warming. What was the suggestion to stop runaway global cooling fifty years ago, though? Stop pumping particles into the air. Fail to do so – drought / extreme weather results, leading to famine / wars / climate refugees.

Exxon knew use of their products caused climate change as far back as the ’70s? Right. Climate change … to what?? And who is it that’s actually deceiving the public in this situation today?

What also proves Chicago here is just the latest boilerplate copy traveling circus act?

Ye olde reposition global warming memos – shown on multiple occasions here at GelbspanFiles as the the memo set which was sent unsolicited to a public relations campaign that rejected the whole set outright, including its illogical narrow audiences targeting suggestions. The accusation surrounding the phrase has been a Sher Edling trademark from day 1. Similar to when I did my first cursory word searches into Sher Edling’s Indian Tribes lawsuits where the word “reposition” didn’t come up, I didn’t find it right away in this Chicago filing either. They didn’t turn it into a non word-searchable illustration snippet like they did in their prior twin lawsuits – they instead put the “r” between brackets. They did that once before (I noted in my Nov 2020 dissection of Maui v. Sunoco), while adding an “ing” after it (their Honolulu filing did not).

A small minority of text writers use those kinds of brackets who want to reproduce quoted phrases so deadly accurately that they can’t bring themselves to put an uppercase letter in the middle of a sentence. Kert Davies, operator of the Climate Investigations Center / Climate Files sites, doesn’t use brackets for the “reposition global warming” memos (e.g. at this page, showing a deceptively cropped, never-published newspaper advertorial) …. except for the brackets seen in his 2018 page here. Sher Edling, don’t forget, says they source documents, such as the “Chicken Little” advertorial, from ClimateFiles.

✓ ‘Advertorials’ attributed (falsely, in 2 of the 3 on Chicago‘s PDF file page 84) to the Western Fuels Association “ICE”-acronym public relations campaign. The same ads which the head of Sher Edling cannot describe accurately.

Ye oldevictory will be achieved” worthless, never-implemented memo set. Nothing different here from any of Sher Edling’s prior boilerplate copy filings – their citation goes to the same innocuous-looking “Document Cloud” file link they used in all their prior filings, where with just four small changes to that weblink reveals – here’s that name again – Kert Davies uploaded it to Document Cloud when he worked at Greenpeace. This problem keeps looming larger every time Sher Edling repeats it. Davies, for any new readers unaware of it, traces back to the old Ozone Action group where the above-noted “reposition global warming” memos first began getting their major ongoing media traction.

🚫 Missing Richard Lawson memo – I pointed out this omission twist to the standard Sher Edling boilerplate pattern in my combined dissection of their identical twin Dec 2023 Indian Tribes lawsuits. The “ammo handed on a silver platter to the defendantsI spoke of there is the massively problematic Lawson memo citation source being Naomi Oreskes’ obscure book chapter containing it and other fatally flawed accusations.

She is on retainer with Sher Edling, an even bigger problem for them as I detail at length here, and in my dissections of her Friends of the Court filings she filed for the plaintiffs in these “ExxonKnew” lawsuits (her especially inept enslavement in those to the “reposition global warming” memos is an acute embarrassment).

Naomi Oreskes isn’t missing ✓ in this filing, however. Just like in the Indian Tribes lawsuits, Sher Edling features her in Chicago as an extraneous citation source surrounding a controversial IPCC topic. The potentially fatal problem for Sher Edling is Oreskes’ ties to a 1992-era Senate staffer, said to be associated (more than once) with Al Gore, over the “reposition global warming” memos. This could sink the entire accusation around those worthless memos. Investigators might want to explore whether one of the ‘municipality partner government attorneys’ advised Sher Edling that the Richard Lawson memo / Oreskes My Facts book chapter was something they didn’t want to draw attention to.

By this point, just like in the other Sher Edling boilerplate copy lawsuits, readers may see how Sher Edling isn’t merely brought into the local municipalities to offer random advice, they have every appearance of running the show. But let’s now examine what I mentioned up at the top — the firm’s latest ill-advised maneuver:

✓ “Bankroll” / “paid” / “funded scientists” – Sher Edling was very consistent from San Mateo County v Chevron in 2017 to October 2022 in Platkin v Exxon, regarding the use of the word “bankroll” to accuse skeptic climate scientist, Dr Willie Soon, of being industry-corrupted. When it came time for Sher Edling to file their September 2020 Delaware v BP lawsuit, however, they needed to switch their Smithsonian Institution press release citation source for the accusation to an Internet Archive version because the Smithsonian had taken their page about Dr Soon offline – Sher Edling continued using the Archive link through to their Platkin filing, and while their Dec 2023 Indian Tribes twin filings swapped the word “paid” for “bankroll,” the archive Smithsonian press release page citation remained. The Smithsonian Institution never said he was “paid” or “bankrolled” by any fossil fuel company, they simply stated they were beginning to look into whether there was a problem with his funding disclosures.

I thought it was hugely suspicious that the supposedly unrelated law firm of Milberg Coleman seemingly plagiarized Sher Edling’s collection of “bankroll” paragraphs for their Nov 2022 Puerto Rico v Exxon filing — albeit with an alternative weblink to the Smithsonian press release page. I thought it was significantly more suspicious when the also-supposedly unrelated Attorney General of California’s office apparently plagiarized the “bankroll” paragraph out of Platkin nearly word-for word ….. but rather than cite the Smithsonian press release page as all the others do, CA v Exxon cited something different out-of-the-blue: A Smithsonian Magazine article written by William Allman who cited widespread news about Dr Soon’s “corruption” revealed by Greenpeace’s / Climate Investigation Center’s Kert Davies.

Want to see what’s in the – again – supposedly unrelated CA AG’s CA v Exxon repeated word-for-word identically, including the citation switch to the William Allman article source? It’s easier here to just drop in a translucent blue rectangle at the point where the identical wording stops.

Chicago v BP. Sher Edling now has every appearance in the world of plagiarizing from CA AG Rob Bonta’s CA v Exxon …. who had apparently previously plagiarized from Sher Edling’s boilerplate pile.

If this latest wrinkle in the climate issue law fare is not one more huge gift on a silver platter to the defendant companies, piled on top of what I detailed above, I don’t what can be better. Dr Soon pointed out that the Smithsonian Institution didn’t tell anyone how their 5-year investigation concluded that he had not failed to disclose his funding properly. If he had, Kert Davies would have broadcasted the results from the mountaintops – the report would be in all of the Sher Edling lawsuits post-2020.

Enviro-activists are brimming with confidence that this ‘flood’ “ExxonKnew” lawsuits and the handlers pouring them out are all above reproach. What could possibly go wrong? If the case can be made that each – in domino fashion – should be dismissed due to a total lack of evidence for the claims about ‘industry-paid shill climate scientists,’ and that the core people behind these lawsuits should be investigated and prosecuted, those enviros will never see this coming.