Exxon Mobil Corp. fought back against New York’s attorney general in court Friday, calling his allegations of “sham” climate change accounting “reckless and false.”
A brief filed in a New York state court repeatedly accuses Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) of “pandering,” saying that his office gave reporters the briefing before filing it, showing the political motivation behind the ongoing case.
“Filled with inflammatory, reckless, and false allegations of an ‘ongoing fraudulent scheme’ and ‘sham’ business practices, the attorney general’s brief was filed with this court minutes before detailed press accounts appeared describing his baseless claims,” Exxon attorneys wrote.
“No further evidence is required to establish the political motivation of the attorney general’s fruitless year-and-a-half long investigation pursuing his ever-shifting and unraveling investigative theories,” they said.
Schneiderman has been investigating since 2015 whether Exxon misled the public and investors about what it knew about climate change and its effects on the company’s bottom line.
Exxon has been fighting to stop the investigation, saying that the attorney general has improper political motives and the company has done nothing wrong.
Last week, Schneiderman told the court that he found evidence that Exxon was likely misleading investors regarding the “proxy cost” that it applies for accounting purposes to reflect the costs of potential policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Specifically, Exxon was using one proxy cost internally and a different one externally, Schneiderman said.
Exxon didn’t deny in its brief that it uses different cost figures for different purposes but said that is not illegal.
“ExxonMobil has not said that it relied on one set of figures for all purposes, and a reasonable investor would not draw such a conclusion from ExxonMobil’s public statements,” it wrote, saying that the costs of global climate policies’ impact on energy demand is different from the effects of potential regulations on specific projects.