The La Jolla Papers: It’s All Just a Big Coincidence—Part 2

Four years ago, two dozen nationally recognized environmental activists, academics and trial lawyers met in La Jolla, CA to explore “whether we might use the lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change.” After that meeting, they published an extremely candid 36-page report that described what they discussed behind closed doors.

Following is the latest installment of highlights from that report, which we are calling The La Jolla Papers.

Richard Heede, co-founder of the Climate Accountability Institute, recently told that despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the foundering AG investigation into “what Exxon knew” had nothing to do with the 2012 La Jolla conference that he and three others organized.

“That would be nice, but we just anticipated how things were going to evolve,” Heede said in a telephone interview. “We haven’t been in the background of any of these new developments.”

Apparently, Heede would have us believe the following tactics that the conferees recommended—taken verbatim from the La Jolla Papers—were just guesses about “how things were going to evolve”? Simply amazing.

·         “Having attested to the importance of seeking internal documents in the legal discovery phase of tobacco cases, lawyers at the workshop emphasized that there are many effective avenues for gaining access to such documents ... State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light.” P. 11 (emphasis added)

·         “Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers.” P.13

·         “Heede is working to derive the proportion of the planet’s atmospheric carbon load that is traceable to the fossil fuels produced and marketed by each of these companies annually from 1864 to 2010.” P. 18 (That report was released in 2015.)

·         “A number of participants ultimately agreed that the various linkages and attribution data could help build a broad public narrative along the following lines:

        We have a serious problem (as shown by the science)

        We know the people responsible are the same ones responsible for a campaign of confusion

        There are solutions, but we can’t get to them because of the confusion these companies have funded” P. 20 (Last August the Washington Post published an op-ed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren E-MA and Sheldon Whitehouse D-RI which follows this narrative.)

·         “Participants also made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network.” P. 27

·         “Equally important was the nearly unanimous agreement on the importance of legal actions, both in wresting potentially useful internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and, more broadly, in maintaining pressure on the industry that could eventually lead to its support for legislative and regulatory responses to global warming. Some participants stated that pressure from the courts offers the best current hope for gaining the energy industry’s cooperation in converting to renewable energy.” P. 2