ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil company, based in the U.S. In 2015, former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) CEO Mark Wiseman was quoted as saying: “I don’t think we’d go buy Exxon, but we might buy a piece of it if it were for sale.” ExxonMobil is a company that not only contributes to climate change directly–it has paid for research to be performed by climate deniers.
According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the CPPIB holds a $186 million investment in this energy giant.
Canadian Press and the National Observer report that a lawsuit was filed in October 2018 in a U.S. court, asserting that ExxonMobil has dramatically underestimated the risks its oilsands assets face from efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
The lawsuit, filed after a three-year investigation by the New York attorney general’s office, charges that Exxon deliberately lowballed by $30 billion the carbon costs faced by 14 different oilsands operations it runs through its [Canadian] subsidiary, Imperial Oil.
The legal action is a civil suit brought forward by investors, claiming Exxon defrauded them by disguising its carbon liabilities.
ExxonMobil has denied these claims, and will seek to have the lawsuit dismissed.
The lawsuit states, in part: “For one of these projects, an investment at Kearl [an oilsands project near Fort McMurray], a 2015 economic forecast shows that the company understated projected costs of [greenhouse gas] emissions by as much as 94 per cent–approximately $14 billion.”
The lawsuit also alleges Exxon has for years told investigators it was accounting for risks such as increasing carbon taxes and other regulatory measures meant to reduce oil demand and fight climate change. However, Exxon has proceeded using much lower estimates of such risks, called proxy costs, the claim says. Exxon has also continued to count reserves as assets that are likely to become uneconomic as carbon prices rise, and has ignored the impact of carbon costs on the viability of its oilsands assets which the documents say make up a quarter of its oil reserves, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit does not seek specific damages. It said Exxon should be forced to return money invested based on false representations.
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