Exxon climate numbers 'may be a sham' : New York official
05 June 2017
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said Exxon Mobil was misleading investors about how it estimated the potential cost of climate-change regulations.
Schneiderman said in a court filing on Friday that Exxon's calculations ''may be a sham.'' He added, the oil company told investors it used one estimate of regulatory costs on projects, but then applied a lower estimate, which made oil and gas projects look more profitable and less risky.
The accusation came two days after shareholders pressed Exxon to disclose additional details of how regulations designed to limit climate change would affect its business.
According to an Exxon spokesman, the attorney general's charges were inaccurate, adding that the investigation was motivated by politics and publicity.
The accusations come as he asked a state court to force ExxonMobil Corp to furnish additional documents and witnesses for his investigation into the Texas-based oil giant.
Exxon had said that since 2007 it had applied a ''proxy cost of carbon'' for judging oil and gas projects. According to Exxon it was an estimate of the future costs of complying with regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Schneiderman, while Exxon had said in 2014 that the additional regulatory cost of fossil fuel could approach $80 per ton of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, he had uncovered evidence indicating that Exxon used lower figures but never told investors about the ''secret internal'' calculations.
Schneiderman's filing came a day after president Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, in which nearly 200 countries pledged to lower their greenhouse gas emissions to try to slow global warming. The decision was condemned by many world leaders and US executives.
"ExxonMobil's external statements have accurately described its use of a proxy cost of carbon, and the documents produced to the Attorney General make this fact unmistakably clear," said Exxon spokesman Scott Silvestri. "We will respond fully to the Attorney General's inaccurate and irresponsible allegations about proxy cost in our court filings."