Today a New York court ruled that ExxonMobil did not make misleading statements in public disclosures regarding the company’s climate change risks. The ruling is a major win for the oil company, which was accused of fraud in public statements concerning the risks of climate change, Buzzfeed News reports.

The decision, delivered by Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager, comes after the New York attorney general launched an investigation into the fossil fuel company in 2015 and filed a lawsuit in 2018. The lawsuit alleged that Exxon violated the state’s Martin Act, a robust anti-fraud statute. When the case went to trial in October it became the nation’s first climate fraud lawsuit. 

Ostrager’s decision states that, “the Office of the Attorney General has failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that ExxonMobil,” violated the law “in connection with its public disclosures concerning how ExxonMobil accounted for past, present and future climate change risks...

“Nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve Exxon from responsibility for contributing to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases in the production of its fossil fuel products,” Ostrager wrote. “But ExxonMobil is in the business of producing energy, and this is a securities fraud case, not a climate change case.”

Published on Dec 10, 2019