ExxonMobil has landed itself in hot water thanks to its regulations on climate change within the company. The oil giant is being sued New York State under claims that the company has lied to investors and downplayed their regulations of greenhouse gas emissions.
“[…] Exxon built a facade to deceive investors into believing that the company was managing the risks of climate change regulation to its business when, in fact, it was intentionally and systematically underestimating or ignoring them, contrary to its public representations,” claimed New York State attorney general Barbara Underwood.
This comes after a three-year investigation of the oil magnate’s business practices.
But is Exxon really at blame?
The lawsuit hinges on the fact that Exxon used proxy data in its public books in order to account for the gradually increasing price of carbon over the course of the next few decades.
However, the lawsuit claims that the proxy costs in question were lower or nonexistent depending on their two sets of reports.
One showed the projected proxy costs to the public while another internal accounting set showed lowered costs.
As such, the attorney general says that this could land investors in hot water when they have to pay more than they expected in the coming years.
Reigning in the use of greenhouse gases has been a governmental initiative for years. Countless industries and manufacturers pump these gases, including methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
According to the lawsuit, however, the claims against ExxonMobil only concern the deceitful communication between the company and its investors.
As the planet warms, we have already seen changes in ecosystems, including loss of species and stronger weather events, such as damaging droughts and increasingly damaging hurricanes.
As a result of the increasing strength of hurricanes, one remote island off the coast of Hawaii was decimated by Hurricane Walaka, leaving only two tiny slivers of land in its wake. The 11-acre island was devoid of human occupation, however, it was an essential location for other reasons; this was a common nesting ground for sea turtles and homed around 200 endangered monk seals.
Lisa Madigan, attorney general for the state of Illinois surmises the situation.
“The overall message here is that Exxon and others that were really at the forefront of causing climate change conditions in our country and around the world long knew that this was taking place and withheld that information to the detriment of not just their investors but ultimately all of us around the country.”
While you might not be able to challenge big business, there are still things you can do at home to help.
Even if your furnace is working at peak efficiency, it’s essential to insulate your home and plug leaks. Around 50% of your heating value will escape your home, leading to lower levels of efficiency.
Some businesses are also making the switch to more sustainable forms of infrastructure and metalworking. Carbon fiber materials offer almost 10 times the tensile strength of steel alternatives for nearly half the weight. As more industries adapt to more sustainable, eco-friendly options, we might still have habitats for at-risk and endangered species.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil pledged to devote $1 million toward a campaign that prices carbon.