Climate ‘fraud’ allegations hit ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil Corp. is branding as “baseless” a New York attorney general’s lawsuit challenging the company’s disclosures to shareholders about the effects on its finances and markets of future climate-change regulation. New York Atty. Gen. Barbara D. Underwood filed the lawsuit on Oct. 24, alleging the company has misled investors about the risk climate change poses to its business.

ExxonMobil Corp. is branding as “baseless” a New York attorney general’s lawsuit challenging the company’s disclosures to shareholders about the effects on its finances and markets of future climate-change regulation.

New York Atty. Gen. Barbara D. Underwood filed the lawsuit on Oct. 24, alleging the company has misled investors about the risk climate change poses to its business.

“Exxon for years assured investors that it was accounting for the likelihood of increasingly stringent regulation of greenhouse gas emissions–which are driving climate change and which Exxon emits in large quantity–by rigorously and consistently applying an escalating cost of those emissions to its business planning, investment decisions, calculations of the amount and value of company reserves and resources, impairment assessments, and projections of future demand for oil and gas,” said a news release from the attorney general’s office. “However, Exxon did not abide by these representations and instead did much less than it claimed, deceiving investors as to the company’s true financial exposure to increasing regulations and policies adopted to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.”

The lawsuit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, New York County, seeks an order prohibiting ExxonMobil “from continuing to misrepresent its practices in this area and requiring it to correct past misrepresentations” as well as damages and disgorgement of money obtained in connection with the alleged fraud. It also asks the court to “direct a comprehensive review of Exxon’s failure to apply a proxy cost consistent with its representations and the economic and financial consequences of that failure.”

In response to the lawsuit, ExxonMobil issued the following statement:

“The New York attorney general’s office doubled down on its tainted, meritless investigation by filing a complaint against ExxonMobil.

“These baseless allegations are a product of closed-door lobbying by special interests, political opportunism, and the attorney general’s inability to admit that a 3-year investigation has uncovered no wrongdoing.

“The company looks forward to refuting these claims as soon as possible and getting this meritless civil lawsuit dismissed.

“There is no evidence to support these allegations, which come after a 2016 press conference by former New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman, Al Gore, and other Democrat attorneys general; a discredited media campaign; and lobbying by anti-fossil fuel activists.”

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