As we featured back in September, 2015, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists of Inside Climate News outed Exxon for first doing peer-reviewed research into climate change before choosing to invest its time and money into climate change denial groups like the Global Climate Coalition. Since then, a number of politicians have called for investigation of whether the fossil fuel company broke any laws, including those that protect shareholder interests.
Last week a coalition of 17 attorneys general from across the US announced investigations of climate-related fraud. The coalition includes California, Connecticut, D.C., Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. AGs from Massachusetts and the US Virgin Islands will investigate ExxonMobil’s alleged misleading of shareholders and the public on climate risk. New York and California’s AGs have already gone down this path. All of these states committed to working together as “creatively, collaboratively, and aggressively” as possible to combat climate change. The inevitable comparisons with Big Tobacco in the 1990s have come out, whether by former VP Al Gore or in Naomi Oreskes’ excellent book, Merchants of Doubt.