Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is known around the world as the ultimate action movie hero, and if his films are any indication, he knows a thing or two about taking down humanity’s biggest threats.
Now, Schwarzenegger is taking on a new real-life foe, one that that he says is responsible for countless deaths worldwide: the world’s biggest oil companies for their alleged involvement in global warming.
The former governor of California and famous actor spoke on a Politico podcast when he unveiled his plans to hire a law firm to sue global oil companies “for knowingly killing people all over the world,” USA Today reported.
“The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill. I don’t think there’s any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger proposed that a warning about fossil fuels signs should be put at every gas station and car companies. Information should also be provided about alternatives for cleaner cars, he added.
Fossil fuels of course are coal, oil, and natural gas that are used to create energy for electricity and transportation.
These fuels are still the world standard, but the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that they also come with a tremendous amount of hidden costs, from destroying the environment to seriously damaging human health (leading to ailment ranging from asthma to cancer). Children are especially at risk for “cancer from fossil fuel pollutants.”
When it comes to health, Schwarzenegger compares Big Oil to the tobacco industry, and how they knowingly manufactured products that they knew could be slowly killing people.
“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger is not the first politician to sue the oil companies. Just this January, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to sue the biggest oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell) for using fossil fuels while fully knowing their harm, and “intentionally mislead(ing) the public to protect their profits.”
Reuters had predicted in the end of 2017 that this will be the year when many lawsuits would surface in a full-on assault against the companies whose products are alleged to be the biggest culprits in the fight against climate change.
“We’re going to go after them, and we’re going to be in there like an Alabama tick. Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” Schwarzenegger said.
As for Schwarzenegger personally, he’s far from perfect when it comes to being environmentally sound with his lifestyle and purchases. But contrary to what online commenters on Politico Magazine’s Facebook page have been stating, he is personally invested in helping the shift away from gas-powered vehicles, as he recently spent big bucks to convert his four Hummers away from oil-based fuels: three now run on bio-diesel, and one runs on electric.
He also converted his Mercedes G-Wagen into an electric vehicle worth $1 million, and has worked with Austrian company Kreisel to promote a new electric Hummer that could revolutionize one of the world’s most infamous gas-guzzling vehicles.
Check out the video below for more information on Schwarzenegger’s challenge to the oil companies: