WASHINGTON (January 20, 2016)—According to a Los Angeles Times story, California Attorney General Kamala Harris is investigating whether ExxonMobil repeatedly lied to shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws.
Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists President
“California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s reported decision to investigate ExxonMobil brings us one step closer to holding hold fossil fuel companies accountable for decades of deception about the harm caused by their product.
“Since November, thousands of Californians—including more than 3,700 UCS supporters—have signed petitions calling on Attorney General Harris to launch an investigation into possible misconduct by ExxonMobil. Almost 13,000 UCS supporters are also among the nearly 390,000 people who have joined calls for a federal investigation of ExxonMobil.
“California’s investigation builds on a groundbreaking inquiry launched in November by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to determine whether ExxonMobil misled its shareholders and the public. It is the latest in a growing movement to uncover the truth, supported by members of Congress, presidential candidates, a former Department of Justice attorney, and more than 60 leaders of major environmental, social justice and indigenous people’s organizations. Last month, U.S. Representatives Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and 43 other members of Congress sent ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson and other leading fossil fuel company CEOs a letter, which cited UCS’s “Climate Deception Dossiers,” asking whether the companies intentionally spread disinformation about climate science.”
Below is a statement by Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science and Policy
“The investigation launched by California Attorney General Kamala Harris is built on recent research by UCS and others, which have systematically documented ExxonMobil’s pattern of disinformation. Evidence from our “Climate Deception Dossiers” shows that ExxonMobil’s own scientists have known about the risks posed by climate change for nearly 40 years, but the company still chose to fund a multi-million dollar, decades-long disinformation campaign against climate science and solutions.
“This pattern of deception continues today and California has been a particular target of that deceit. Over the past few years, the Western States Petroleum Association, of which ExxonMobil is a member, has been actively misinforming the public on climate and energy policies in the state, as documented in our report.”
Frumhoff will be giving a public talk tomorrow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego: “Who is Responsible for Climate Change?”