by Chris White
Much of the financing propping up climate litigation targeting ExxonMobil and other oil companies is coming from foreign progressive groups, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
The Oak Foundation committed $100 million to an initiative designed to promote various environmental campaigns, the report notes. The Switzerland-based forked over more than $1 million to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), one of the groups suing the energy industry for supposedly contributing to man-made global warming.
Several members of CIEL’s board are spearheading litigation against Exxon. Attorneys Matt Pawa and Sharon Eubanks, for example, have been instrumental cogs in the crusade against the Texas-based oil company. They barnstormed around Illinois in 2016 with a Chicago billionaire lobbying the state’s attorney general to join the litigation, according to a slew of documents the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) obtained on Sept. 11.
The Oak Foundation also donates money to EarthRights International, a legal nonprofit representing Boulder and San Miguel County, CO in their climate liability lawsuit against Exxon Mobil and Suncor. Oak Foundation donated nearly $1.2 million to EarthRights between 2005 and 2015, financial records show.
CEI’s documents detail the actions of a group of AGs and activists, including former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, that eventually led to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg paying for “legal fellows” to work in state law enforcement.
At least six state AG offices accepted Bloomberg-funded legal fellows, according to CEI’s documents, including Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia.
Salaries and benefits for legal fellows are paid for by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center (SEEIC) at the New York University School of Law, which was started with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2017.
Bloomberg is reportedly considering a presidential run and has a record of environmental activism. Through his nonprofit, Bloomberg launched campaigns to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement and bankrolled climate campaigns to push green energy and close coal-fired power plants.
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