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Exxon Mobil’s About-Face on Climate Disclosure

ExxonMobil protesters hold signs

By Paul Griffin, University of California, Davis

Exxon Mobil Corp. has vowed to do a better job in disclosing the risks it faces from climate change starting “in the near future” after bucking pressure to do that for years.

Until now, shareholders and bondholders had no choice but to rely on informed guesswork by outsiders to divine how the nation’s largest fossil fuel company was retooling for the future — a time when taxes, regulations and competition from renewable energy and other new technology alternatives are likely to thin consumers’ demand for its products.

San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Costs of Climate Change

Fourth street sign underwater

Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

San Francisco and Oakland are suing Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—the five biggest investor-owned fossil fuel producers in the world—over the costs of climate change.

The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Washington Post: Exxon, Koch, and Big Coal Cash Begat Trump Climate Denial

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

How Exxon Used the New York Times to Make You Question Climate Science

A breakthrough study from Harvard unearths the extent Exxon has gone to in order to destroy the public's trust in climate change science.

Last week, Harvard University researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes (of Merchants of Doubt fame) published the first peer-reviewed study comparing ExxonMobil’s internal and external communications on climate change.

The abstract of the Supran and Oreskes study shows that ExxonMobil’s own scientists and executives had a much sharper understanding of climate science than the company told the public (emphasis added):

I Was an Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist

Exxon station signs

By Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

Exxon Changed its Tune on Climate Science, Depending on Audience, Study Shows

By Dave Levitan. Crossposted from Climate Liability News.

A peer-reviewed analysis of 37 years of communications from ExxonMobil concluded that the oil company has misled the public for decades about climate science and climate change. When their communications were aimed at the public and non-scientific audiences, they focused on doubt and uncertainty. At the same time, the company’s internal communications and peer-reviewed science broadly agreed with the scientific consensus that fossil fuel burning is warming the planet.

Available documents show a systematic discrepancy between what ExxonMobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public,” the study concluded. It was researched and written by Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard’s Department of the History of Science.

The Exxon-Treasury Fight And The Roots Of Russiagate

By David Halperin and Kert Davies, originally published at HuffPost.

Putin and Exxon have aimed relentlessly at ending U.S. sanctions, but scandal and Congress have now tied Trump’s hands.

Window Dressing: Exxon Reluctantly Crosses the Climate Threshold

Exxon gas station sign

This is a guest post by Dick Russell.

The day before President Trump made his decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate accord, ExxonMobil reluctantly crossed a climate threshold.

A majority of shareholders, over 62 percent, voted in favor of America’s biggest oil company releasing detailed analyses of the risks that climate change poses to its business. 

Having previously argued that sufficient information is already being provided, CEO Darren Woods relented far enough to say that Exxon would “take the vote seriously [and] will respond to that feedback and look for opportunities” to communicate. Woods did not, however, agree to produce a requested report.  

Court Papers Claim Rex Tillerson Approved Misleading Carbon Accounting Scheme While ExxonMobil Boss

By Dan Zegart, orginally published at Climate Investigations Center.

Former ExxonMobil CEO and now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson personally approved a scheme for accounting for the financial impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the company's business that deliberately misled investors, one that continued right through ExxonMobil's May 31st shareholders', according to an explosive court filing by the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman claims that beginning in 2007, ExxonMobil used one set of figures in describing carbon-related risks to investors but internally used another, secret set.  The net result was to vastly understate the financial danger to the company.

The June 2nd court filing also accuses the ExxonMobil of destroying countless documents despite the fact that it had a legal obligation to preserve all records potentially relevant to the attorney general's investigation, which is probing possible fraud in ExxonMobil's disclosures about climate change to investors and the public. 

Exxon Shareholders Demand Report on How Climate Policy Puts its Business at Risk

Exxon sign

It’s all a bit weird. After a shareholder vote, Exxon again finds itself in the unaccustomed position of being out ahead of the US government on climate change action.

At the company’s AGM yesterday, shareholders agreed to force the company to disclose the impacts of stringent climate policy on its business model. Exxon’s management were against the move.

The resolution doesn’t actually require Exxon to take action to cut its emissions. It just says the company must tell investors how the value of its business might be affected if the world really started to take climate policy seriously.

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