Led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the climate alarm lobby is threatening ExxonMobil with criminal prosecution for an offense against nature.
Yes, as many critics have suspected, the company may have concealed the scandalous fact that it has been producing oil and gas without informing investors of dire climate change consequences.
Creatively applying the “Martin Act,” a New York law enacted in 1921 to prosecute stock-sale boiler rooms, an attorney general can bring charges and commence investigations without any probable cause that an investor was actually harmed.
This allows Schneiderman to search ExxonMobil’s files for any unrevealed knowledge about climate risks from 1977 to present.
This would include how any related research was used in business projections, how it was described to investors and the public, and communications on the topic with outside groups such as trade associations.
Schneiderman’s war against Big Oil as a climate menace may pour more biofuel on legal witch hunt fires involving a host of other prosecutorial inquisitors.
California Rep. Ted Lieu along with other Democratic House members has requested that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigate ExxonMobil in much the same way they went after the tobacco industry in the 1990s, costing those companies tens of billions in penalties.
As Rep. Lieu told Reuters, “My view is that this should be even more serious than tobacco, if it’s the whole world that is being harmed.”
Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island wants to bring RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) conspiracy investigations against ExxonMobil, a federal statute was established in 1970 to prosecute the Mafia.
The common theme here is that ExxonMobil perpetrated fraud in continuing to sell a product it knew to be harmful.
However there’s a big catch in this theory. Unlike well documented correlations linking tobacco smoking to high mortality risks, there is no evidence whatsoever linking measurable climate change to fossil burning, much less to deaths.
On the other hand, previous ice ages and a “little ice age” between the 16th and 19th centuries, which peaked about 200 years ago, give evidence of global cooling as a far more serious threat.
And as a matter of fact, despite so-called “record” high atmospheric CO2 concentrations, satellite records show no statistically significant global warming over the past nearly 19 years.
Still, the mainstream media has lost no opportunity to pile onto charges that ExxonMobil has long hidden known information that the planet is on fire.
The Los Angeles Times, for example, characterized an employee’s 1989 presentation to the Exxon board stating that “scientists generally agreed gases released by burning fossil fuels could raise global temperatures significantly.”
But they conveniently omitted the part where the employee noted, “In spite of the rush by participants in the greenhouse debate to declare the science has demonstrated the existence” of an increase of human influence, “I do not believe such is the case.”
It is true that Exxon and most other oil and gas companies rallied against big Clinton-Gore climate alarm-premised push in the late 1990s for U.S. to participate in the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto CO2 cap-and-trade agreement.
As a matter of fact so did the U.S. Senate which unanimously passed severe limitations virtually guaranteeing that they wouldn’t ratify the new treaty.
Of all petroleum company CEOs who resisted Kyoto, none drove efforts to combat alarmist pseudoscience more effectively than Exxon’s Lee Raymond who commissioned an internal research program to determine exactly what was and was not known about any climate change threats and possible human influences.
He was joined in this effort by Mobil CEO Lou Noto, a scientific counteroffensive which continued after the two corporations merged in 2000.
Unfortunately, and contrary to prevalent accusations by the climate crisis crowd to discredit skeptical challenges, major petroleum companies no longer find it in their best business interests to debunk transparent alarmist climate myths and exaggerated “green” energy claims.
Nevertheless, the industry continues to be whipping boy number one.
ExxonMobil’s finger-to-hotplate public image hypersensitivity dates back to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, just as BP experienced following its 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In 2002 ExxonMobil contributed $100 million to Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project to promote breakthrough developments in technologies which include high-efficiency energy, CO2 storage, and bioenergy such as ethanol.
This and other attempts, including those by BP, to buy immunity from hostile attacks have gone nowhere.
No, ExxonMobil and other petroleum companies aren’t conspiring to undermine “alternative energy” markets advocated by powerful green lobbies and subsidy rent-seekers.
Such hands-off policies have little to do with scientific considerations, and much to do with what they regard to be sound business decisions.
And who can truly blame them? After all, they’re very busy keeping our economy fueled, our lights on, our homes comfortable, and our engines running.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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