New York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, accusing the oil giant of systematically and repeatedly deceiving investors about the risks that climate change posed to its business.
If you ask Barbara D. Underwood, climate change denial should be just as punishable as fraud. New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Exon Mobil on Tuesday, accusing the Texas-based oil giant of working to “systematically and repeatedly deceive investors about the significant impact that future climate change regulations could have on the company’s assets and value,” according to her office.
As alleged in the complaint, Exxon assured investors that it was accounting for the costs of climate change to its business planning, but in fact deceived investors as to the company’s true financial exposure to climate risks. For example, Exxon’s failure to properly account for 14 of its oil sands projects in Alberta, Canada, resulted in undercounting of projected greenhouse-gas related expenses by more than $25 billion.
According to the attorney general’s office, this alleged fraud reached the highest levels, with the former chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson knowing of these misrepresentations for years. Tillerson later served as the US Secretary of State under President Trump.
Exxon has rejected the attorney general’s accusations, retorting that they are not supported by any evidence and are based on mere allegations by politicians such as Al Gore as well as a “discredited media campaign and lobbying by anti-fossil fuel activists”.
Image credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr