New York AG changes theory on Exxon case

NY Post:
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman must have hit a wall with his Exxon climate-change probe, since he’s suddenly changed his target.

No matter that his new pretext is as thin as his old: Attacking Big Oil is good politics on the left, especially in New York.

The AG now says he’s focused on “recent statements by ExxonMobil related to climate change,” The New York Times reported Friday. The question “is less what Exxon knew, and more what it predicts.”

Previously, Schneiderman went subpoena-fishing for proof that the company hid its research on climate change, as alleged by the #ExxonKnew conspiracy theorists.

The problem there was that Exxon for decades has been publishing research that fits right in with standard climatology.

The new excuse? The AG says Exxon might be overstating the value of its reserves, by failing to discount for the risk that climate warriors might drastically limit the use of carbon fuels. Collectively, he says, Big Oil may be “overstating their assets by trillions” — for “massive securities fraud.”

It’s a ludicrous stretch: Predicting such political risk is far from a science — and the company discloses the assumptions behind its valuations. Even if Exxon turns out to be wrong, as a spokesman notes, it’s not fraud.
The company is required to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in preparing its financials and the data it files with the SEC.  When it values its reserves it must follow the rules and the requirements of the SEC.  If it does that there is a "safe harbor" if the projections turn out to be wrong.


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