Quantcast

Exxon's Climate 'Scandal' Escalates As NY Attorney General Issues Subpoena

Climate

Seeking to find out exactly what Exxon knew and when the oil giant knew it, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued the corporation an 18-page subpoena seeking four decades of documents, research findings and communications related to climate change, according to news reports on Thursday.

"Just as New York’s Teddy Roosevelt took on the Standard Oil Trust a century ago, New York’s attorney general has shown great courage in holding to account arguably the richest and most powerful company on Earth," says climate activist Bill McKibben. Photo credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

InsideClimate News, one of two outlets whose investigative reporting spurred the inquiry, said the subpoena delivered late Wednesday "seeks documents from Exxon ... related to its research into the causes and effects of climate change, to the integration of climate change findings into business decisions, to communications with the board of directors, and to marketing and advertising materials on climate change."

According to the New York Times, which broke the news of Schneiderman's probe on Thursday: "The focus includes the company’s activities dating to the late 1970s, including a period of at least a decade when Exxon Mobil funded groups that sought to undermine climate science. A major focus of the investigation is whether the company adequately warned investors about potential financial risks stemming from society’s need to limit fossil-fuel use."

Following the reporting by InsideClimate News and the LA Times, presidential candidates, elected officials, climate leaders and advocacy groups have all called for investigations into Exxon's corporate behavior.

"'Exxon Knew' just joined the category of truly serious scandals," said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben on Thursday. "Just as New York’s Teddy Roosevelt took on the Standard Oil Trust a century ago, New York’s attorney general has shown great courage in holding to account arguably the richest and most powerful company on Earth. We hope that other state attorney generals and the federal Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission will show similar fortitude."

Describing the subpoena development as "groundbreaking news," Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard echoed McKibbens' call for other entities to follow suit. "The door is now open for the Department of Justice to initiate a federal investigation," she said, "as people have repeatedly called for on different fronts."

Now, at least, there's little chance of this issue going away. "I went to jail a few weeks ago because I was worried this great reporting from InsideClimate News and the LA Times might disappear," McKibben added, referring to his Oct. 15 act of civil disobedience at a Vermont gas station. "I'm not worried about that anymore."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Imagine If Exxon Had Told the Truth on Climate Change

Landmark Climate Bill Would End New Fossil Fuel Leases on Federal Lands

We Must Hold Exxon Accountable for Deceiving the Public on Climate Climate

Hillary Clinton Calls for Federal Investigation of Exxon

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on Sept. 19 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.

Read More Show Less

By Winona LaDuke

For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.

Read More Show Less
The climate crisis often intensifies systems of oppression. Rieko Honma / Stone / Getty Images Plus

By Mara Dolan

We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.

Read More Show Less