New York says Exxon misled investors about climate risks

FILE- This April 25, 2017, file photo, shows Exxon service station signs in Nashville, Tenn. New York’s attorney general is suing Exxon Mobil saying the company misled investors about the risks climate change posed to its business. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

New York's attorney general sues Exxon Mobil, saying company misled investors about risks climate change posed to its business

NEW YORK — New York's attorney general on Wednesday sued Exxon Mobil, saying the Texas energy giant has misled investors about the risks that climate change poses to its operations.

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Barbara Underwood is the latest in a series of actions against the company claiming it has not been forthcoming with investors and the public about climate change.

The complaint states Exxon courted investors such as the state's public pension funds with inaccurate information, assuring them it was accounting for the possibility of stricter regulations of greenhouse gas emission in its planning, when it was doing much less than it claimed.

"Exxon built a facade to deceive investors into believing that the company was managing the risks of climate change regulation to its business when, in fact, it was intentionally and systematically underestimating or ignoring them, contrary to its public representations," Underwood said in a statement.

Exxon Mobil looks forward to refuting the claims and getting the lawsuit dismissed, spokesman Scott Silvestri said Wednesday.

"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 three-year investigation has uncovered no wrongdoing," Silvestri said in an email.

The lawsuit follows a three-year investigation by Underwood's office and similar probe in Massachusetts. Exxon Mobil had sued the attorneys general of both states after they subpoenaed documents about Exxon's research into the role of fossil fuels in climate change, calling their investigations politically motivated and accusing them of trying to take away the company's right to free speech. A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit.

The complaint asks for an order requiring Exxon to correct past misrepresentations and provide restitution to shareholders. Two of New York's public pension funds hold Exxon shares with a combined value of about $1.5 billion, Underwood said.

Consumer and environmental groups hailed the lawsuit as a significant step in addressing what they called Exxon Mobil's deception around climate change.

The lawsuit "opens a new front in the climate change fight, with the prospect of a judicial reckoning and severe financial penalties for one of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world," Blair Horner, executive director of New York Public Interest Research Group, said in a statement.

A federal judge in June dismissed lawsuits brought by San Francisco and Oakland, California, that sought to hold big oil companies including Exxon Mobil liable for climate change.

New York's lawsuit comes less than three months after the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped a similar investigation.

Related News

Ford to invest $75M in autonomous vehicle sensor company

Aug 16, 2016

Ford and Chinese search engine company Baidu will invest $75 million each in Velodyne, a company that makes laser sensors that help guide self-driving cars

Navajo Nation sues feds over massive 2015 mine waste spill

Aug 16, 2016

One of the nation's largest American Indian tribes is suing the federal government over a massive mine waste spill that tainted rivers in three Western states

Ford says it will have a fully autonomous car by 2021

Aug 17, 2016

Ford Motor Co. intends to have a fully driverless vehicle _ no steering wheel, no pedals _ on the road within five years

Broaden News

About Us

In-Depth Science delivers comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything science and technology, seven days a week in a reader-friendly format.

Contact us: