Massachusetts Fraud Suit Against ExxonMobil Reflects Tipping Point in Fossil Fuel Industry Accountability for Climate Science Deception

Statement by Peter Frumhoff, UCS

Published Oct 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (October 24, 2019)—Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil for investor and consumer fraud just two days after a similar lawsuit went to trial in New York. The two lawsuits come at a time of mounting concern about the worsening climate crisis and demands that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for its decades-long climate science disinformation campaign, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Over the last few months, climate damage lawsuits brought by the state of Rhode Island and communities in Colorado and Maryland have survived multiple attempts by ExxonMobil and other defendants to block them. In a related development, the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing yesterday to examine how the oil industry’s climate science denial campaign disproportionately harms marginalized communities around the world.

Below is a statement by Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy and chief climate scientist at UCS.

“We’ve reached a tipping point in the movement to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for climate science denial and financial deception. ExxonMobil pulled out all the stops to keep the Massachusetts lawsuit and other related cases from reaching the courtroom and has deployed its vast legal and financial resources to try to intimidate community leaders, elected officials and advocacy groups. Thanks to the leadership and determination of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Letitia James and their respective teams, investors and the general public can finally learn the truth about ExxonMobil’s deceitful conduct.

“Like the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, the fossil fuel industry must face the consequences of decades of science distortion and deceptive marketing. These lawsuits provide real momentum toward climate justice.”