SEC Drops Probe of Exxon’s ‘Climate-Change Disclosures’

From the WSJ, fallout over the recent #ExxonKnew lawsuit being dismissed.

Regulators decided against trying to penalize the energy giant over its disclosures and how it accounted for oil and gas assets

Securities regulators have dropped an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil Corp. misled investors about the risks that climate change and greenhouse-gas regulations posed to its business.

The Securities and Exchange Commission informed Exxon that it closed the probe—and decided against trying to penalize the energy giant over its disclosures and how it accounted for oil and gas assets, according to a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Full story here

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45 thoughts on “SEC Drops Probe of Exxon’s ‘Climate-Change Disclosures’

    • eco-fascists have seriously over played a very weak hand with this one. The result reinforces the position of the old companies they were attacking.

      Foot meet bullet.

  1. What risk of climate change?….history says CO2 rises…then crashes as we go into another ice age

    • That’s been my question since this whole CO2 fraud started. If it is so warming, why do we re-glaciate only at its highest levels.

    • Indeed – this is a problem that the Greens have never addressed.

      When CO2 is high, the world falls into a glacial period. When CO2 is low, the world warms into an interglacial. This could not happen, if CO2 was the primary feedback agent controlling world temperature.

      The answer is that the primary feedback controlling world temperature is actually ice-sheet albedo. High albedo ice ensures that temperhatures fall into a glacial period. But after 90 kyr the ice sheets get covered in dust, and so they melt, producing an interglacial. But this gives the world a natural temperature limit, which is achieved when nearly all the ice has gone. And CO2 does – well, not a lot, really….

      Modulation of ice ages via dust and albedo.
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674987116300305

      .

      • The AGW alarmists are working on a newly-modified meme: CO2 from human sources acts differently on the climate than does all that ancient, naturally-originated CO2.

        “Don’t ask us how, but trust us . . . it acts differently. Why, next year we’ll even have computer models, blessed by the IPCC, that prove it!”

  2. Paywalled, unfortunately.
    Remind me, who initiated this investigation and with what justification? I would hope that it would take more than a fake investor complaining that the company wasn’t taking global warming seriously.

    • See my longer comment below (or above, depending on which way you are reading comments) for your answers. Summary of summary: Jan 2016 under Obama, responding to warmunist pressures after NY AG Schneiderman did the same Nov 2015 using NY Martin Act. All outgrowth of Oreskes 2012 ‘Exxon knew’ scheme.

      • Thanks, Rud. I see the use of the Martin Act has an interesting history.
        edit-The article does now seem to be free to view.

  3. The disclosure they’re talking about is information for potential investors. You have to list all realistic threats, even if you don’t think they’re going to happen.

    My favorite went something like this:

    All our customers are bigger than us and have the technical and scientific ability to put us out of business by going into competition with us.

    It was a small company with a very niche product. It was eventually bought out by one of its customers. 🙂

    If the oil companies realistically expect that lawsuits could hurt their business, they have to mention that in their disclosures. Given the recent court decisions, they probably don’t have to do that because they’re winning all the lawsuits.

    So, is there a danger that government regulations could wreck the oil companys’ business? Given that renewable energy is demonstrated to be impractical, governments would have to be willing to wreck their economies if they wanted to over-regulate the oil companies to the point where it hurt their businesses. That’s just not realistic.

    It seems the SEC just realized what most of us could have told them a long time ago.

    • Given that renewable energy is demonstrated to be impractical, governments would have to be willing to wreck their economies if they wanted to over-regulate …

      See Jo Nova’s blog (in list at right) that’s chronicling how the Australian government is willing to wreck its economy.

    • The sheer mention that the SEC is investigating can send a companies stock value to plummet. The ill advised fiasco created by state’s attorneys general and further promulgated by this facetious investigation are not inconsequential, and assuredly has hurt some investors.
      Those who perpetrated this malfeasance and misappropriation of government assets should be brought to justice, and if not elected should be fired.

      Out of an abundance of caution the SEC should NOT have started any investigation until the lawsuit was adjudicated. This is an instance wherein the precautionary principal does apply. There was no need for prematurely advancing and highly publicizing such an undertaking. Waiting would have not effected anything, but their tactic displays more of an intent to cast aspersions than to remedy any situation.

      • Waiting would have not effected anything, but their tactic displays more of an intent to cast aspersions than to remedy any situation.

        The probe started during the Obama administration. Read into that what you will. LOL

      • There are lots of insurers and financial institutions that aren’t based in NY.
        The only people hurt by this move will be the companies of NY.

    • “So, is there a danger that government regulations could wreck the oil companys’ business?”

      That would be a war against the economy. Do they usually list the risk of wars?

  4. Wasn’t their argument that Exxon hadn’t warned investors of potential law suits and government bans on fossil fuels, thus endangering the value of the shares? Since the law suits are unlikely to succeed now, there’s no damage to the company that way and thus investors were properly advised. As for government regulation, that’s almost impossible to predict and even tobacco companies are still able to make a lot of profit, despite RICO.

    • The supposed issue was largely about stranded assets. If you say you have a couple of hundred billion dollars worth of oil in various regions around the world, but you are aware that there is pending legislation that will almost certainly restrict how much oil you can sell or otherwise adversely affect the value of those assets, you have to warn investors. It was a dead issue before it got started. I’m sure the SEC drones figured it was easier to say “we’re investigating” than absorb the political heat for telling the watermelons to take a hike, especially under Obummer. Then they wait for a good opportunity, and say “Yep, we looked, didn’t find anything. Have a nice day.”

  5. Subscriber to WSJ so not paywalled. Summary: SEC Investigation was begun Jan 2016 under Obama. 4.2 million pages examined. SEC motivated to act after then NYAG Scheiderman subpeonaed Exxon for essentially same allegations under NY Martin Act. Outgrowth of the Exxon Knew scheme hatched by Naomi Oreskes and Union of Concerned Scientists at Scripps at LaJolla Ca in 2012. Exxon has now laid out a full time line of their persecution for their investors.

  6. All the virtue signaling in the world won’t overcome common sense in the eyes of the law. That is depending on who’s eyes you’re looking through.

  7. I’m really enjoying the continuing trend of these enviroMental lawsuits being rejected and dismissed!
    It is a refreshing ‘climate change’, isn’t it?!!

  8. Has anyone seen anything on the children’s lawsuit. I’ve seen some things on the social media sites saying that the Government is going to have to face them in court.

    • Federal court in Newark is just a couple blocks from where I work. If I win the lottery, I’m going to while away the hours filing a suit against those kids for putting my kids’ future in jeopardy.

      • The first thing to do is get the suit moved out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

  9. When are SEC going to investigate California for telling people buying their bonds one thing while telling a court something completely different?

    • The Congress enacted the Securities Act of 1933 to regulate the issuing of stocks and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which set up the SEC. The SEC was given the power by Congress to enforce the provisions of the Securities Act. IANAL, but I believe much of the power to regulate securities comes under the “Commerce clause” of the Constitution. Perhaps one of our legal beagles can clarify this.

      • According to the left wing interpretation of the commerce clause, breathing falls under it’s perview, since the air you breath either has or will cross a state boundary at some time.
        In other words, under the current interpretation of the commerce clause, the rest of the constitution is redundant because anything and everything can be justified under the commerce clause.

      • Legal beagle here. Late to dead thread. Congress right to establish the SEC is clear in Article 1 sec 8.3 (commerce clause), persuant to 8.18 (congress empowered to make laws effectuating the express congressional powers enumerated by 8.1–8.17.

  10. Don’t forget this one-

    Chevron wins $38m from Environmentalists behaving badly: extortion, fraud, witness tampering, corrupt practices

    http://joannenova.com.au/2018/05/chevron-wins-38m-from-environmentalists-behaving-badly-extortion-fraud-witness-tampering-corrupt-practices/

    Score 1 for Chevron In 2011, environmentalists won the worlds largest judgement against Chevron (holy moley $18 billion), but it turned out it was all based on fraud, fake witnesses and telling lies. Who would think people who say they like trees and human rights would be so self serving? The award has since been overturned — indeed the tables have turned, and last week Chevron was awarded $38 million in damages. Strangely, bad behaviour of planet-saving-people doesn’t appear to rate highly in the news. Hands up who thinks the BBC/ABC/CBC would fail to mention it if environmentalists won a $38m suit against a money-laundering-witness-tampering oil company? Gibraltar Supreme Court Awards Chevron $38 Million Against Ecuadorian Conspirators [May 25th, 2018] SAN RAMON, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 25, 2018– The Supreme Court of Gibraltar has issued a judgment against Pablo Fajardo, Luis Yanza, Ermel Chavez, Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia (the “Front”) and Servicios Fromboliere for their role in a conspiracy to procure and attempt to enforce a fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron. The court awarded Chevron Corporation$38 million in damages and interest and issued a permanent injunction against the defendants, preventing them from assisting or supporting the case against

  11. or this-

    “Statements made to potential investors contradict allegations made by the municipalities when they sued the energy industry, the filing says. For example:
    -San Mateo County’s complaint says it is “particularly vulnerable to sea level rise” and that there is a 93% chance the county experiences a “devastating” flood before 2050. However, bond offerings in 2014 and 2016 noted that the county “is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur”;

    • If San Mateo County was so foolish as to put that notice of vulnerability and statistical prediction in its (legal) complaint, then don’t ethics and due-diligence laws/guidelines require them to also force all county/city chambers-of-commerce and promotors and all realtors doing business in the country to disclose these same material facts to the public?

    • Richard,
      This is what is known as ‘transparency’ in environMental circles.
      Their lying skin is so thin you can see right through it!

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