The nation's policies on climate change are a result of denials from fossil fuel companies and others on the issue, and anyone who "intentionally misled the public" on climate change deserve to be punished, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay professor emeritus writes in an opinion piece.
"Denying the best scientific evidence we have is neither smart nor safe," Michael Kraft, a professor of political science and public and environmental affairs, writes in the piece published in The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal
"It could lead to greater societal harm than if we had taken sensible action when reliable knowledge was first available.
Science is valuable when dealing with issues that can pose risks to public health, said Kraft, and should be reported and scrutinized, and denying that science is similar to the denials made by tobacco companies linking smoking with serious diseases, "even when their own studies showed the opposite to be true."
Fossil fuel companies' internal research have also confirmed the link between their product and climate change, but rejected climate science, said Kraft.
And just like when in 1999, the Justice Department sued tobacco companies through the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO guidelines, accusing them of defrauding the public for 50 years, there is talk to pursue RICO charges against fossil fuel companies, said Kraft.
Last month, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a Senate Judiciary Committee have been discussions in the Justice Department about pursuing civil action against fossil fuel companies, and her office has referred the matter to the FBI for further investigation, reports CNSNews.com
Kraft noted that late last month, state attorneys general meeting in New York also said they plan to "aggressively investigate" if fossil fuel companies intentionally misled the public about climate change, and there has also been talk about extending the probe to think tanks and groups financed by the fossil fuel industry.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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