Healey sues ExxonMobil, alleges climate change deception
Says firm 37 years ago accurately predicted carbon levels of today
ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY sued ExxonMobil Corp. on Thursday, accusing the company of misleading Massachusetts investors and consumers by withholding information linking its fossil fuel products to climate change.
The 205-page lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, says Exxon scientists predicted 37 years ago, with “astonishing accuracy,” that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would reach 415 parts per million by 2019. That level, “the highest level in human history,” was reached on May 11, according to the lawsuit.
“From the late 1970s onward, Exxon scientists and management knew that Exxon’s oil (including petroleum), natural gas, and related hydrocarbon products were the leading cause of climate change and that climate change, if unabated, would have potentially ‘catastrophic’ – as one Exxon scientist put it 37 years ago – impacts on the global environment and human communities,” the lawsuit says.
Healey claims ExxonMobil violated investor laws by failing to disclose information that could have influenced decisions about whether to buy Exxon Mobil stock and consumer protection laws by not revealing information that would have influenced decisions to buy ExxonMobil products. The lawsuit alleges that Exxon downplayed the impacts of climate change and sold fuels and engine oil products it advertised as “green” when it knew they were contributing to climate change,
Healey said her lawsuit is based on internal documents uncovered by media organizations in 2015 as well as discovery by her office. New York’s attorney general is also suing the oil giant on similar grounds.Healey has been battling ExxonMobil in court for years just to obtain documents. Her first action was filed in April 2016, which prompted a countersuit by the company. Healey’s office prevailed in a series of subsequent court decisions and appeals that have gone all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and even to the US Supreme Court.
ExxonMobil had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.