California councils sue Exxon but Exxon fights back: Will that be Fake Fear or Fake Bonds?
Some Californian councils launched climate litigation against Exxon because they will be wiped out by floods. But at the same time the same councils issued bonds and forgot to mention that the local area was going to be washed away.
Since 1990 or so, the bonds are worth in the order of $8 billion according to a petition from Exxon. The Competitive Enterprize Institute is calling on the SEC to investigate regarding potential fraud.
The councils have painted themselves in to a terminally awkward corner: Are they money grubbers using false propheses to scare up some money, or are they deceptive bond dealers?
For example, San Mateo County claimed in its complaint to be “particularly vulnerable to sea level rise” with a 93 percent the county will experience a “devastating” flood before 2050.
“If sea levels were to raise that high, it most certainly would be catastrophic,” Epstein said.
However, bond offerings in the last few years by those counties and cities weren’t so forthcoming about those predictions, Exxon said in a verified petition filed last month with the District Court in Tarrant County, Texas.
San Mateo’s 2014 and 2016 bond offerings told would-be investors that the county “is unable to predict whether sea-level rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm will occur,” Exxon’s petition said.
The councils accused fossil fuel companies of causing their losses, but the counties and cities consume and produces a lot of fossil fuels itself.
[NYU Prof] Epstein’s comments are among a number of voices claiming the counties’ and municipalities’ lawsuits against the energy companies are inherently flawed. Epstein and those other voices point out that California, which includes the counties and cities that filed the lawsuits, is both a great consumer and producer of the same fossil fuels the litigation claims are sowing the seeds of imminent climate change disaster.
“These counties and cities are huge consumers of energy,” Epstein said.
Looks like someone didn’t think this through.
It’s never a good idea to launch litigation as a fashion statement or as a form of tribal warfare.