Did Exxon Mobil mislead its investors and the public about the risks of climate change?
The question has prompted an investigation by the attorney general for New York State, Eric Schneiderman, whose office has sent a subpoena to Exxon Mobil looking for numerous documents and records. New York’s Martin Act, a securities law designed to protect investors, gives Schneiderman the broad range to do the investigation
A spokesperson for Exxon Mobil says the company rejects any allegations that they hid climate change research and that they are assessing their response to the New York AG’s subpoena.
Environmental groups are touting this as a big win because they have been searching for years for proof that Exxon Mobil has been influencing the climate change debate by withholding research from the public and supporting think tanks and advocacy groups who are skeptics of climate change. Opponents say the investigation is unfounded and a purely political move by Schneiderman.
What evidence is available to support or refute the claim that Exxon Mobil misled the public? What are the laws that allow AG Schneiderman to investigate Exxon? If Exxon is guilty of misleading the public, how should they be punished?
Pat Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School
Jacob S. Frenkel, chair of Securities Enforcement, White-Collar Crime, and Government Investigations Practice at Shulman Rogers, a law firm in Potomac, Maryland. He’s also a former federal prosecutor and SEC enforcement attorney