Eric Schneiderman Vs. Exxon Mobil

schneidermanExactly what New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hopes to discover in the stack of climate-change documents he’s ordered Exxon Mobil to produce is unclear, because his investigation isn’t public. But he apparently suspects that the company lied to investors about the risks climate change posed to its future profits — which, if true, might be fraud.

His grounds seem pretty thin. Much as one may sympathize with Schneiderman’s desire to encourage stronger action on climate change, this is not the way to go about it.

Exxon’s critics have argued that the company’s own researchers believed, as far back as the 1970s, that carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels were causing climate change. Yet, as they point out, Exxon has long opposed strong action on emissions, and until a few years ago gave financial support to researchers and campaigners that cast doubt on the scientific consensus.

The company later acknowledged that this was unwise: In 2007, it said it would stop funding such groups. The earlier practice deserved no prizes for good corporate citizenship — but failing to be a good corporate citizen isn’t lying, and isn’t a crime. Not yet anyway. Unless the company deliberately misled its investors, it’s hard to see why its scientific and public-relations efforts should be any concern of New York’s attorney general.

On the face of it, the company’s research on climate change and its previous public positions on climate policy not only fail to amount to fraud, they aren’t even necessarily at odds. You might accept the reality of man-made global warming and still argue against strict new rules on emissions — if, for example, you believe that such restrictions would do more harm than good. You’d be wrong, but that position isn’t indefensible, and certainly shouldn’t be illegal.

An alternative theory of Schneiderman’s case — the idea that the company had proof of the damage caused by carbon emissions and then suppressed the information — just seems preposterous. Climate change has been intensively investigated by countless researchers worldwide. No one company is in a position to direct or defeat the scientific consensus.

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  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    hERatIC Scheisterman
    What a dope !

    He and the alarmist hyenas he listens to can’t come up with ANY scientific proof of the global warming myth ,
    BUT
    Exxon must have it in their ” secret ” files.

    He has made this statement publically.
    He should be recognized as an idiot.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    The Bloomberg Editorial fluff piece supports a mud throwing smear campaign . AS if the company shareholders need the NY AG to protect the interests of shareholders .
    What a transparent joke . Intimidation tactic is more like it .
    There isn’t a chance the NY AG will be pursuing anything against Exxon . What’s really rich is NY
    doing this , one of the largest fossil fuel users on the planet .The gross inefficiency of New York’s energy
    systems is the real story .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Guaranteed Schneiderman isn’t getting to work in a golf cart . Exxon wouldn’t drill for oil or gas if the holier than thou greenies were not buying fossil fuel.

    New York politicians wouldn’t last a day if they banded fossil fuels and clearly they are not so stupid.
    A New York lawyer pretending to search for a smoking gun is going to go over real big in Texas .

    Reply

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