Exxon Mobil has he been sufficiently transparent the public and investors about the impact of its activities on global warming? This is in short the meaning of the summons addressed, Wednesday, November 4, by the New York Attorney Eric Schneiderman to oil giant. The procedure is unprecedented and could open a vast legal front for all businesses living fossil fuels.
Justice and requires ExxonMobil to supply a number of documents, emails, financial reports, to check whether the oil company, through lobbying she could exercise in recent years, has not sought, first, to mask the scientific findings on climate change and, secondly, n ‘ has not breached its obligations by not alerting its shareholders on the risks to the company’s activities and its ability to continue to use fossil fuels.
Fight against financial fraud in the NY
The assignment is based on the Martin Act, legislation dating from 1921, specific to the state of New York, which grants very broad discretionary powers to the public prosecutor for the fight against fraud financial. This law prohibits “fraud, deception, concealment, suppression, false pretense” or “any misrepresentation or declaration” and gives the State the flexibility to update these breaches
The document, which has eighteen pages is to dissect how the group has provided in recent years vis-à-vis all stakeholders. Customers, investors and even employees. The procedure is not an exercise in style. Moreover, in its time, the former prosecutor of the State of New York (between 2006 and 2010), Andrew Cuomo, now governor, had used the Martin Act to force coal plants to change their financial communication about the risks of climate change.
Moreover, the New York Times revealed Thursday that Peabody Energy, the largest US coal producer was the subject two years ago in a similar survey. The procedure is still ongoing.
Increased pressure for justice launches investigations
for several months or years, the pressure of several associations of environmental protection, scientific , parliamentarians and candidates today to the US presidential election, has become increasingly strong for justice launched an investigation to confuse the oil companies about their speech on global warming.
Hillary Clinton, the favorite for the nomination at the Democratic primary has declared the end of October, while traveling in New Hampshire, Exxon Mobil should be investigated, indicating that “is much evidence that they misled people” about climate change. His main challenger, Bernie Sanders of Vermont Senator, sent a letter to the same effect to the Minister of Justice, Loretta Lynch. Democratic representatives from California, Mark Desaulnier and Ted Location joined these requests in the last few days.
These follow on from two surveys, one site InsideClimate, the other Los Angeles Times , which researchers claim that Exxon Mobil, in the late 1970s and 1980s had warned the leaders of the business of the threat posed by climate change on company operations oil. But it had then cut research budgets in this direction to the contrary focus its communication on the doubts surrounding the human responsibility in accelerating the phenomenon.
“They denied science”
The founder of the 350.org website environmentalist Bill McKibben has for several weeks action to draw attention to the shortcomings that Exxon Mobil would have delivered. He has published several fora in the American magazine The New Yorker and in the British newspaper The Guardian . “Exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change decades ago, and instead of alerting us, they denied science and obstructing the fight against climate change” says McKibben.
“We categorically reject the allegations that Exxon Mobil has stopped research on climate change” , said a spokesman of the group, adding that the oil company had published dozens of scientific articles on the subject, and warned investors of climate risks.
Meanwhile, the survey poses to the oil industry, the risk of serial trial , modeled on those that have cost tens of billions of dollars the tobacco sector a few years ago.