Guest post by David Middleton
In my previous posts regarding the lawless inquisition of ExxonMobil and its supposed climate cover-up, I’ve pretty well demonstrated that ExxonMobil (then Humble Oil, later Exxon) knew exactly what we know today: The AGW models always forecast about 4 times as much warming as actually would occur. In any science other than government/academic climate “science,” this is known as a failed hypothesis. ExxonMobil was fully aware of this failed hypothesis long before it failed.
Well, the latest spin coming from the commissariat of State attorneys general is that ExxonMobil has misled investors about what the government might do in the future. Yes, I know, George Orwell couldn’t even have imagined this. The most successful energy company in the history of “life, the Universe and everything” is being accused of misleading investors about things that our Federal government (AKA Mordor-on-the-Potomac) might do in the future:
Is ExxonMobil Actually Only Worth A Fraction Of What It Says?
By Charles Kennedy – Aug 22, 2016
The investigation by a handful of attorneys general into ExxonMobil has much more to do with the oil major misleading investors than it does about covering up climate science.
As The New York Times recently noted, Schneiderman emphasizes that the probe is focused on securities fraud, which hinges on recent statements that Exxon has given to shareholders and securities regulators, not on the company’s alleged cover up of climate science decades ago.
Schneiderman’s argument is straightforward: forthcoming policies to address climate change will severely limit Exxon’s ability to produce all of the oil and gas in its possession. Nobody knows this better than Exxon, Schneiderman alleges, since the company has been at the forefront of climate research since at least the 1970s. If Exxon cannot produce all of its oil reserves because they become either legally off limits or so regulated and/or taxed that they are uneconomical to produce, then the company itself is actually worth a lot less than shareholders think. And if Exxon knows this, then they are committing securities fraud, Schneiderman says. “If, collectively, the fossil fuel companies are overstating their assets by trillions of dollars, that’s a big deal,” Schneiderman said, according to the NYT.
He is looking at an Exxon report from 2014 in which the company told shareholders that climate action from the U.S. government and the international community would not prevent Exxon from producing oil, even decades into the future.
Exxon dismisses the allegations, saying that if it ends up with so-called “stranded assets,” it will because it simply misjudged changing market conditions, which is not a crime. “If it turns out to be wrong, that’s not fraud, that’s wrong,” said Alan Jeffers, an Exxon spokesman, referring to its 2014 forecast. “That’s why we adjust our outlook every year, and that’s why we issue the annual forecast publicly, so people can know the basis of our forecasting.”
And of course, if the world fails to implement climate policies that might hold back oil production, Exxon might still be able to extract its reserves unencumbered, which means its original forecast was not wrong about the value of its assets.
Since when has it become the fiduciary responsibility to accurately predict the future actions of government? While every responsible corporation has a fiduciary duty to analyze the effects of proposed and implemented government policies on their business and to communicate this to shareholders and corporations even have an obligation to try to influence how these policies are crafted and implemented through the employment of lobbyists… No corporation has a legal obligation to forecast government malfeasance. And any “leave it in the ground” climate policy would be government malfeasance on a scale not seen since Nero was fiddling. Furthermore, there are no impending regulations or legislation which would force ExxonMobil to abandon proved oil and gas reserves. While some regulations, like the new offshore well control rules, will make it much more difficult and expensive to produce proved reserves and exploit resource potential, none of these would force ExxonMobil to “leave it in the ground.”
I have a hunch that this cabal of left-wing attorneys general and Warmunist activist groups might just find themselves on the receiving end of a RICO lawsuit. Chevron has already paved the legal path for this.