N.Y. won’t fight Exxon’s climate victory

Source: By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020

New York’s top lawyer will not appeal a recent court decision rejecting claims that Exxon Mobil Corp. misled shareholders about climate concerns, the state’s attorney general said last week.

The decision was reported by Bloomberg on Friday, and E&E News confirmed with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) that an appeal of the closely watched case, People of the State of New York v. Exxon, is not forthcoming.

“For the first time in history, ExxonMobil was compelled to answer publicly for their internal decisions that misled the public,” James said in a statement.

“As we have done for the last year, my office will continue to fight to ensure companies are held responsible for actions that undermine and jeopardize the financial health and safety of Americans across our country, and we will continue to fight to stop climate change.”

New York sued the oil supermajor under the state’s Martin Act, challenging the firm’s use of two sets of numbers to represent hypothetical costs of carbon in its business planning. New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager said James’ office did not adequately demonstrate that a reasonable investor would have been confused by the two costs (Climatewire, Dec. 11, 2019).

The decision came as Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) launched a similar case against Exxon in a Bay State court. Healey’s office alleges that the company misled not only shareholders but also consumers about the financial risks of climate change (Climatewire, Jan. 2).