I suppose this was inevitable, and Exxon Mobil probably expected it as well.
According to the Justin Gillis NYT story, the New York attorney general’s “investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.”
The thing that astounds me about this is, as far as I know, Exxon Mobil “scientific research” would not have uncovered anything that was not already widely hypothesized (not “known”) by the scientific community, Al Gore, Greenpeace, school teachers, Hollywood actors, your 8 yr old son, et al.
How one compares a tobacco company cover-up of evidence that smoking kills millions of people, to human-caused climate change, which cannot be demonstrated to have occurred let alone cause even one death (or even inconvience) is beyond me.
But then, we live in a brave new world, don’t we?
That this was coming can be seen from the popular meme that conflates “climate change” with “human caused climate change”. For example, a few months ago The Guardian had a headline which crowed, “Exxon knew of climate change in 1981“.
What a stupid headline. Of course “climate change” exists. Medieval farmers enjoyed the fruits of it. Vikings in Greenland cursed it.
We knew about climate change long before Al Gore earned his “D” in Natural Science and decided to become an expert on the subject.
Natural climate change has caused (or at least contributed to) millions of deaths over the centuries. But our use of fossil fuels has enabled a level of prosperity which has made us much more resilient to climate change and weather disasters, maybe akin to the prosperity enjoyed in Medieval times when warmer conditions prevailed.
Where are the studies to investigate the possibility that modest warming has actually prevented severe weather? Major tornadoes and hurricanes in the U.S. have certainly seen a downturn in recent years. Maybe Exxon Mobil should be charging extra for this ‘positive externality’?
What about all the prevented cold weather, which still kills many more people than hot weather?
Instead, every bad thing that happens in weather is now blamed on carbon dioxide emissions. Too hot. Too cold. Not enough snow. Too much snow. It’s all our fault.
Medieval witchcraft. Time to burn some CEOs at the stake.
Even though sea level was slowly rising long before CO2 could be blamed, we now blame it on your SUV. In order to even begin to blame it even partially on CO2, the rise should be accelerating, which it (arguably) hasn’t.
Investigating Exxon Mobil for some sort of undisclosed knowledge of “climate change” is like investigating the agricultural industry for undisclosed knowledge that too much food can make people fat…except that there isn’t even any human fingerprint of global warming, like there is a stomach-print of overeating.
Or, maybe a better analogy is an investigation into the Mexican or Italian food industry for their secret knowledge that their spicy food causes peptic ulcers…except that theory was finally debunked, despite a 99% consensus in the medical community.
It’s easy to go after corporate giants, since they have so much money. Too bad people don’t realize the reason these corporations are so rich is they provide us with a standard of living we want more than other things we could have spent that money on. Econ 101.
And natural climate change is Climatology 101.
Or, at least it used to be.
DISCLOSURE: I’ve been known to give Exxon Mobil money in exchange for gasoline. But I usually use Chevron gas, which contans Techron which keeps my intake manifold and valves clean.