Today, the burning of fossil fuels for transportation is one of the leading causes of carbon emissions in America. In 2018, ExxonMobil made over $20 billion, and most of the profits came from the burning of fossil fuels. Despite the amount of money the company makes off of fossil fuels, the company touts itself as a leading clean energy corporation.
Now, two states are suing the company on the charge of misinformation and fraud. After many years of investigation, Massachusetts filed suit against ExxonMobil for fraudulent conduct.
Hypocrisy and Green-Washing
The main subject of the lawsuit has to do with ExxonMobil’s financial and business planning. It is believed that ExxonMobil has been deceiving both its consumers and investors that considerations for climate risks are being made when creating these financial plans. The company attended a New York courtroom just last week under similar allegations.
With allegations of fraud and deceptions, more investors and ExxonMobil consumers are becoming aware of the company’s malpractices. Moreover, the company still acknowledges and understands the long-term consequences of prolonged fossil fuel burning. Activists and accusers of the company have called out ExxonMobil for their ongoing “green-washing.” Despite ExxonMobil’s supposed activism, the Massachusetts lawsuit states that the “Objective of ExxonMobil’s efforts is to preserve the company’s short-term profits in a carbon-dominated world economy no matter the dire long-term consequences for the company’s investors or for the consumers who buy its products.”
The company has been suing both Attorney Generals from Massachusetts and New York in an attempt to stop their investigations. These accusations, however, have been repeatedly rejected by judges.
ExxonMobil Creation of Economic Risks
A longstanding fraudulent scheme such as this one, if proven, presents a multitude of economic risks in the future. The most obvious one is the depletion of fossil fuels that the company heavily relies on. In 2018, big oil companies that include ExxonMobil only spent about one percent of their profits on clean energy. This number presents a clear indicator that the company has different priorities for the time being.
One of the complaints made against ExxonMobil stated that “In the coming decades, these catastrophic ‘systemic’ impacts threaten to impose ruinous societal costs, cascade throughout the world’s economies and decimate the overall value of the world’s financial markets, and with them, ExxonMobil’s global business and the holdings of the company’s Massachusetts investors.”
Consumers, investors, companies, and even ExxonMobil will suffer dire consequences if the overconsumption of fossil fuels continues. Pennsylvania State University has made projections of the total consumption of oil and fossil fuels to take place in about thirty years. These cases have brought an enormous amount of attention to ExxonMobil.
Even if the accusations are not proven to be true, consumers around America are paying closer attention to how they spend their money when it comes to oil and gas.