In a lawsuit in which the energy giant Exxon Mobil was accused that it had downplayed the risks and impact that climate change regulations could have on the business of the company, the court has ruled in favour of the energy giant.
While ruling that no conclusive evidence was provided by the New York state attorney general to prove that Exxon Mobil had in fact deceived its investors, a judge also said that the court was not letting the company off from its duty and responsibility top take enough measures to tackle global warming and consequent climate change.
State judge Barry Ostrager wrote in the ruling that the office of New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, did not prove “that Exxon Mobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor”.
“Nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve Exxon Mobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases,” he said. “But Exxon Mobil is in the business of producing energy, and this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.”
While welcoming the ruling by the court, Exxon Mobil also said that the law suit itself was based on a “baseless investigation”.
“We provided our investors with accurate information on the risks of climate change,” the Irving, Texas-based company said. “Lawsuits that waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”
There were no immediate comments available from the office of James.
Exxon Mobil was accused by the Democrat of effectively maintaining two sets of books – where in one of the account books was meant for the public in which the company told the public that the costs of potential climate regulations in a warming world were being accounted for by the company completely while also reducing such costs as the company made investment decisions as well as while evaluating the value of its oil and gas reserves.
All allegations of wrongdoing were rubbished by Exxon Mobil and said that it took climate change seriously and that it had no benefit from understating the future costs to the company because of climate change.
“We would be misinforming ourselves,” former chief executive and ex-secretary of state Rex Tillerson testified in October.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)