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Carbon producers’ tar pit: dinosaurs beware

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The path to holding fossil fuel producers accountable for climate change & climate damages 

The project to quantify the contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane arising from the operational emissions of fossil fuel company supply chains and the sale of carbon fuels to consumers began with an analysis of John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company from 1882 to 2002 under the aegis of the Climate Justice Programme. The report, and the modeling of ExxonMobil’s contribution to temperature change and sea level rise, was published by Friends of the Earth UK in 2005. This paper traces the evolution of the project, its methods and results, the milestones, and the reactions of industry and government up to the recent publication of an attribution study in Climatic Change, corporate accountability for climate change (and from which year does the clock on accountability start?), industry climate denial efforts, their moral obligation to lead on decarbonizing the world economy, potential litigation risks for climate damages and reparations, and lawsuits filed by citizens, counties, and cities in California and elsewhere.