The New York State Attorney's Office has been pursuing Exxon for years for everything from climate denial to fraud. The oil company that made billions while financed climate denial has tried to avoid going to court. Despite his best efforts, Exxon went to trial in a New York courtroom on Tuesday over allegations that it was deceiving investors .
The case is a landmark moment for climate litigation, which marks the first case of climate fraud to go to trial. New York Attorney General Letitia James and her office argue that Exxon scammed investors by essentially retaining two sets of books.
A number of Big Oil companies are assuming future climate policy that a carbon tax or market will come into play, and they build that "price" in their analysis of whether fossil fuel projects can make money or not . In its audience reports, Exxon said it priced carbon at $ 80 per tonne for all of its projects, which is far more aggressive than the current carbon pricing mechanism. Internally, the company priced much lower carbon, according to court documents . The effect made Exxon look like a better investment than it was, the lawsuit claims, and thus shareholders of the tune are between $ 476 million and $ 1
During the trial, we discovered all sorts of fun things about the company, from how much it knew about the effects the products had on climate change driving the fact that former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson had a secret email account ( codename: Wayne Tracker ). These, I think we can all agree, are the real friends we made along the way.
Now Exxon is about to feel the blazing spotlight in a way it has not done before as the New York AG office publicly files the case for fraud in the state Supreme Court. The company is prepared to argue that investors should have known better (that, I don't know, it pays regularly for people?). The trial is expected to last for three weeks, but the end does not mean the end of Big Oly's legal disorders. The New York case is just one of an expanded package of lawsuits against oil companies for their role in causing the climate crisis . Below are just a few of the other issues that can further reveal Big Oil's climate and demand that they pay for them. Unlike the New York case, which focuses on investor losses, the following cases are all focused on the damage climate change is inflicting on cities and states. If anyone succeeds, it may open the floodgates given that no location on Earth is unaffected by the climate crisis.
Baltimore v BP
Let's start with the other big case making news on Tuesday. The city of Baltimore sued BP and 26 other oil major which also includes Exxon, Shell, Marathon, Chevron, and more . The city seeks money to deal with, among other things, rising sea levels, more intense heat waves and more heavy rains. The suit claims that companies "have known for half a century" how their products have focussed on climate while participating in a "coordinated, multifaceted effort to hide and deny their knowledge of the threats" while turning on [The19659002] case was filed last year and the oil companies have since tried to dismiss it, including the United States Supreme Court for stay and transfer of the case from state to federal court. The Supreme Court denied the stay on Tuesday, meaning the case could continue to be discovered while attorneys bargain whether it remains in the state legal system or is moved to federal.
Colorado Counties vs. Suncor
Last year, a group of Colorado counties filed the first non-coastal climate lawsuit against a fossil fuel company. Like the Baltimore case, the focus is on getting Big Oil to pay for climate damage, although the Colorado concerns (19459005) are slightly different. While the coastal areas are concerned about rising seas, the mountain west will have to contend with the lost snowpack and its impact on water supply and tourism as well as increase the risk of large wildfires.
Exxon is again a defendant in this case along with Canadian tar sands company Suncor. And like the Baltimore case, the defendants tried to get the case appealed to the federal court to to no avail ; and only last week they tried to get the United States Supreme Court to intervene. We have to wait to find out if will work this time.
Rhode Island v. Chevron
New York is not the only state to sue oil companies. Rhode Island joined the action last year. The state sued Chevron and other fossil fuel companies, which it says are responsible for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions released globally between 1965 and 2015. The state wants money to deal with the effects of climate change, especially along its 400 miles of coastline [19459005 Stop me if you've heard this before, but the oil companies called tried to get the case moved to federal court. They lost that virtue through the summer. Earlier this month, the oil companies asked for a stay while the Supreme Court weighed what to do with the Baltimore case. This delay tactic seems to have gone its way, so we'll see where it goes next.