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New York Is Suing Exxon For Misleading Investors About Climate Change

“This case seeks redress for a longstanding fraudulent scheme by Exxon,” the lawsuit states.

Last updated on October 24, 2018, at 3:25 p.m. ET

Posted on October 24, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. ET

Sergio Moraes / Reuters

The state of New York is suing Exxon Mobil for fraud, alleging the oil company has long deceived investors on the risks climate change poses to its business.

“Exxon provided false and misleading assurances that it is effectively managing the economic risks posed to its business by the increasingly stringent policies and regulations that it expects governments to adopt to address climate change,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the New York Attorney General’s Office.

This lawsuit, which follows a three-year investigation into Exxon on climate matters, calls out the company’s past leader, Rex Tillerson, for allegedly sanctioning the fraud. Tillerson left the company to briefly serve as Trump’s secretary of state.

The fraud alleged in today’s suit reached the highest levels of Exxon management, including former Chairman & CEO Rex Tillerson. The law is clear: corporations must tell investors the truth. My office will hold accountable those who don’t.

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Environmentalists were quick to praise the lawsuit.

“Big Oil may finally face some consequences for its role in wrecking the climate,” Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental group, said in a statement.

If countries limited future global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit), what would that mean for Exxon’s bottom line? An analysis Exxon reportedly presented to investors determined there would be limited negative impacts to the business. But this calculation, per the lawsuit, was based on assumptions Exxon “knew to be unreasonable and unsupported.”

The company also allegedly misrepresented the projected climate impacts to some of its oil sands operations in Alberta, Canada, according to the lawsuit.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.