Sixteen attorneys general have banded together to go after oil companies and utilities who they claim have committed fraud by downplaying the idea of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. They are going to investigate claims that ExxonMobile and other fossil fuel companies knew about the dangerous effects of global warming and hid the facts from the public.
The urge by Democrats to criminalize certain political opinions is nothing new, as we’ve seen in the abortion debate and gay marriage laws.
Standing beside former Vice President Al Gore, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the state officials are committed to “working together on key climate-related initiatives,” including queries into whether fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil have committed fraud by deceiving the public and shareholders about the impact of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
Two states — California and New York — already have launched probes into ExxonMobil, while attorneys general from Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands indicated Tuesday that they would follow suit. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, an independent, is the only non-Democrat involved in the campaign, called AGs United for Clean Power.
“The bottom line is simple: Climate change is real; it is a threat to all the people we represent,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “If there are companies, whether they’re utilities, whether they’re fossil fuel companies, committing fraud in an effort to maximize their short-term profits at the expense of the people we represent, we want to find out about it. We want to expose it and want to pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mr. Schneiderman also announced that 20 attorneys general representing 18 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands filed a brief Tuesday in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan rule, which has been challenged by attorneys general in 25 mostly red states.
The campaign was spurred by articles last year alleging Exxon hid research conducted by its own scientists linking fossil fuel emissions and global warming. Exxon officials have denied the claims and countered that the investigation was conducted by journalism entities that receive funding from foundations known for their climate change activism.
Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s vice president for public and government affairs, said Tuesday in a statement that the accusations are meritless.
“The allegations are based on the false premise that ExxonMobil reached definitive conclusions about anthropogenic climate change before the world’s experts and before the science itself had matured, and then withheld it from the broader scientific community,” Ms. McCarron said. “Such a claim is preposterous.”
A single email in 1981 from Exxon’s in house climate expert is apparently the basis for this witch hunt. As Exxon’s spokesperson rightly points out, the idea Exxon should have heeded the warnings of a single scientist a decade before the purported science of climate change got around to reaching an alleged consensus that global warming might be real is “preposterous.”
But that won’t stop the climate bullies from attacking voices of dissent. The AG’s are citing as similar the tobacco companies and their denial that nicotine was addictive and that there were no adverse health issues caused by smoking. But the tales told by tobacco companies were lies. The idea that one of the largest companies in the world should have done a 180 and stopped drilling for oil because a single employee claimed the earth was warming is beyond preposterous – it’s loony.
In 1981, there were no global temperature studies, no hockey stick, no consistent attempts to measure the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. And there were no prominent climate scientists or physicists claiming that the earth was warming up because of industrial emissions. No doubt the AG’s are hoping for a settlement of tens or hundreds of billions of dollars to spend on “climate change alleviation” and other pet projects.
They’ve become experts at targeting deep pockets.
A version of this piece also appeared at The American Thinker