Exxon Investigated Over Internal Climate Research
On November 5, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an investigation of ExxonMobil's public statements and internal research on climate change.
The investigation is intended to determine whether Exxon adequately informed investors of the risks climate change could pose to its operations - or if it may have mislead the public about the extent of those risks.
Schneiderman's office has subpoenaed Exxon for internal documents related to climate research, including email and financial records.
“We unequivocally reject the allegations that ExxonMobil has suppressed climate-change research,” said Exxon Vice President for Public Affairs Kenneth Cohen.
Recently several news outlets have published comparisons of Exxon's internal climate research and business planning from as early as the 1990s with its pronouncements regarding the validity of climate science. These reports allege that Exxon was aware of the risks of climate change and may have considered them in making future business plans - while downplaying these factors in public.
The Attorney General's office also announced a long-running investigation of Peabody Coal that seeks to establish whether the company properly disclosed information regarding the risks of climate change to its investors. While only recently made public, this investigation has already been under way for two years.
Legal experts speaking to several media outlets described the potential for a wave of similar investigations of other energy companies – not unlike the public health lawsuits filed against tobacco companies in recent decades