Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is going after Big Oil and climate change.
The actor and former governor of California said in a Politico-sponsored podcast at the SXSW festival in Austin that he is in talks with law firms about possibly suing global oil companies “for knowingly killing people all over the world.”
"The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill," Schwarzenegger said in the podcast.
"I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies," he said.
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In the podcast, Schwarzenegger compares the issue to the tobacco industry.
"This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it," Schwarzenegger said. "Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that."
He argues that every gas station, car and product with fossil fuels should have a warning label on it. He hopes that this will raise awareness about cleaner cars and alternative fuels.
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” he said.
A spokesperson for Chevron, one of the companies sued by San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that the lawsuits would not help address climate change.
"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement and action," Chevron spokesperson Melissa Ritchie told the Los Angeles Times. "Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory, and economic priorities."
ExxonMobil says on its web site that the company "is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research that leads to technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options."