Bernie Sanders: Fossil Fuel Industry ‘Probably Criminally Liable’ for Climate Change

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 20: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Tyler Perry Studios November 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by MSNBC and The …
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed during Wednesday evening’s Democrat presidential primary debate the fossil fuel industry is “probably criminally liable” for climate change and signaled he is open to “prosecuting them.”

Sanders shifted the climate change action timetable by telling the moderators we only have “eight or nine years” to “get our act together,” even though he has previously cited a 12-year deadline.

Nonetheless, the socialist senator continued, adding that the fossil fuel industry is “probably criminally liable” because they have “lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet.”

Because of that, Sanders said, we should “think about prosecuting them as well.”

Sanders said:

We don’t have decades. What the scientists are telling us, if we don’t get our act together within the next eight or nine years, we’re talking about cities all over the world, major cities going underwater, we’re talking about increased drought, talking about increased extreme weather disturbances.

The United Nations is telling us that in the years to come there are going to be hundreds of millions of climate refugees causing national security issues all over the world.

What we have got to do tonight, and I will do as president, is to tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet. And by the way, the fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable, because they have lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet, and maybe we should think about prosecuting them, as well.

This is not the first time Sanders has floated prosecuting the fossil fuel industry. He included the idea as part of his $16 trillion Green New Deal released in August, calling to “prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused.”

Per his plan (emphasis added):

When it was revealed in 2015 that the fossil fuel industry knew their actions were contributing to climate change decades ago, Bernie sent a letter to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to open a federal investigation to find out whether the industry violated the law. President Bernie Sanders will ensure that his Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigate these companies and bring suits – both criminal and civil – for any wrongdoing, just as the federal government did with the tobacco industry in the 1980s.These corporations and their executives should not get away with hiding the truth from the American people. They should also pay damages for the destruction they have knowingly caused. .

“Fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused,” Sanders tweeted in August alongside the hashtag #GreenNewDeal:


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