Oops! Cities admit to bond fraud in global warming lawsuits against Big Oil

A libertarian think tank has notified the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that California cities and counties may have inadvertently admitted to securities fraud in their global warming lawsuits against oil companies.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) attorneys pointed out that localities’ suing a group of oil companies for current and future damages allegedly caused by global warming may have misled municipal bond investors.

“A number of California cities and counties have recently filed lawsuits against several oil and gas companies, claiming that these companies failed to disclose the alleged risks of climate change,” CEI attorneys Sam Kazman and Devin Watkins wrote to the SEC.

“However, in these lawsuits, the plaintiff cities and counties apparently describe these climate risks in ways that are far different than how they described them in their own bond offerings. In our view, this inconsistency raises serious questions of municipal bond fraud,” the attorneys added.

So far, nine U.S. localities have filed lawsuits against oil companies for damages from extreme weather and sea level rise, which the plaintiffs allege were made worse by man-made warming.

A handful California localities have sued, alleging that oil companies “knowingly” sold products that cause global warming all while trying to suppress the scientific evidence. Richmond became the most recent city to sue over the climate.

“After being warned by their own experts of the potential damage, the fossil fuel industry could have taken steps to transition to a lower carbon future, but they didn’t,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in a statement.

However, ExxonMobil, one of the companies being sued, noted in its legal filings that California cities and counties suing over global warming didn’t disclose climate risks in bond offerings.

“[I]n their lawsuits many of the municipalities claim to be able to accurately be able to predict sea level rise caused by climate change,” Kazman and Watkins wrote. “However, some of the bond offerings of these municipalities state that such predictions were not possible.”

For example, San Francisco’s lawsuit predicts “0.3 to as much as 0.8 feet of additional sea level rise by 2030,” which could cost $5 billion in the long-term. But the city told investors they were “unable to predict whether a sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur, when they may occur.”

“Either the City can predict such sea level rise, as it tells the court, or it cannot, as it tells investors,” CEI’s attorneys wrote.

Representatives for Sher Edling, the law firm handling six localities’ climate suits, did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    Al Shelton

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    First off…. the localities must prove that ExxonMobil products cause global warming.
    There is no proof, whatsoever.
    They cannot just declare an hypothesis that GHGs “trap” heat and cause global warming.
    There is no empirical evidence of this.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    These greedy city councils are just looking to fill their bank accounts anyway they can more reason to totaly boycott these cities during this summers tourists season

    Reply

  • Avatar

    G

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    To the eco-left following the law is completely optional. Because of their superior intellect and compassion these people are entitled to defy laws meant for “the rest of us”. As seen more and more often, the left is now entitled to simply invent an alternative reality viewpoint to justify absolutely anything. No facts or reality are required; just a story of most any kind that their friends in the leftstream media can run with and promote as the truth.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    The truth is the phoney lawsuits are being paid for by tax payers
    and the politicians are looking for a new sugar daddy because their finances are the only thing underwater .
    If the Mayors and their lawyers were so worried about saving the planet why haven’t they band fossil fuel use . After all no fossil fuel is sold without a buyer .
    Quit wasting the courts time and the tax payers dime !

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    I,ll bet none of the plantiffs in these idiotic lawsuit will give up their luxeries or their Fossil Fuels these lawsuits are frivolous and should be dismissed the trouble is the Demac-Rats and the Trial Lawyers are partners in crime the Vulture the Shark and the Donkey

    Reply

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