Tag Archives: climate change

Court Rules Against NYAG in ExxonMobil Climate Change Disclosure Trial

In a lengthy and detailed post-trial opinion, New York (New York County) Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager has ruled that the New York Attorney General failed to establish that ExxonMobil Corporation made material misrepresentations in its public disclosures concerning how the company accounted for climate change risk.  As discussed below, there are a number of … Continue Reading

Further Wildfire-Related Management Liability Litigation: Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Northern California wildfire known as the Camp Fire – reportedly the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history – has finally been fully contained. But while the fire has been doused, the fight about the fire has only just begun. Investigators will now undertake to determine the fire’s cause. And the inevitable lawsuits … Continue Reading

Dismissal Motion Denied in ExxonMobil Climate Change-Related Securities Suit

As I noted when it was filed in 2016, the securities class action lawsuit investors filed against ExxonMobil and certain of its executives represented something of a milestone as it was the first securities class action lawsuit of which I am aware based on climate change-related allegations. In an August 14, 2018 opinion, Northern District … Continue Reading

Shareholders File Climate Change Disclosure Lawsuit in Australian Court

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s June 1, 2017 announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, one of the things I predicted was that the administration’s action likely would trigger a host of reactions on the state, national and international stage. Among other things, I conjectured that activists facing … Continue Reading

Now Trending: Cybersecurity and Climate Change Disclosure Practices

One of the fundamental principles on which our system of securities regulation is based is the importance of disclosure. The system is built on the notion that companies must disclose certain basic information about their operations and performance so that investors can make informed investment decisions. While the disclosures required are a matter of regulation … Continue Reading

Climate Change Disclosure Remains an Issue Despite U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Accord

On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.  Under the terms of the Paris pact, withdrawal could take up to four years, but the President’s recent action signals his administration’s intent to step away from the agreements and commitments detailed in agreement. The President’s … Continue Reading

Investors File Climate Change Related Securities Suit Against Exxon Mobil

For many years, I have been raising the possibility of climate change-related corporate and securities litigation. However, despite my best prognostication, the climate change-related  corporate and securities lawsuits have basically failed to materialize – that is, until now. On November 7, 2016, investors filed a purported securities class action lawsuit in the Northern District of … Continue Reading

Up Next?: Climate Change Disclosure and Corporate Liability Exposures

The question whether concerns about climate change-related disclosures might lead to regulatory enforcement actions or even liability claims has been around for some time, but though the concerns have remained, the regulatory actions and liability claims have not really materialized.  However, in the past week, the service of a subpoena on Exxon Mobil Corp. by … Continue Reading

Is Climate Change a D&O Insurance Issue?

In a series of letters sent to individual board members of various major energy companies and to a number of participants in the directors and officers liability insurance industry, three environmental groups contend that climate change denial by energy industry representatives presents a risk of personal liability to the individual energy company board members. The … Continue Reading

Will the SEC’s New Interpretive Guidance Open the Door to Climate Change Disclosure Suits?

On February 2, 2010, the SEC published its interpretive release providing guidance to public companies on the SEC’s existing disclosure requirements as they apply to climate change. The release can be found here. A February 4, 2010 memo from the Gibson Dunn law firm analyzing the SEC’s release can be found here.   While the … Continue Reading

Will the U.N. Summit Boost Climate Change Disclosure Initiatives?

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference set to begin December 7, 2009 in Copenhagen, activists and observers are dialing up the volume both with calls for reform and with updated reports of the projected risks that global warming threatens. Among the long-standing initiatives advocates are now seeking to advance is the petition before the … Continue Reading

New Environment for Climate Change Litigation?

While I have long predicted (refer here) the possibility of litigation against directors and officers of public companies concerning global climate change-related disclosures, to date the lawsuits have not materialized. Which is not to say that there have not been relevant developments – to the contrary, there have been many, as discussed below. There just … Continue Reading

Carbon Disclosures: Coming Soon?

 On June 26, 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, it set the stage for changes that could have a direct effect on corporate financial results. The Act has now moved to the Senate, where it could face significant hurdles. But strong White House support … Continue Reading

Earth Day Essay: Climate Change and Corporate Risk Assessments

The recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to find that greenhouse gases "contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare" is just the latest in a series of actions and events suggesting that climate change related issues could affect a large number of companies, in a variety of ways, including most specifically … Continue Reading

The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine

In order to assign responsibility in connection with the enforcement of public welfare objectives, courts have developed the "responsible corporate officer doctrine," which in recent years has been applied with increasing frequency in environmental enforcement. A California appellate court recently applied the doctrine to enforce civil liability on the officers of a family run business. … Continue Reading

What’s Next: Climate Change Financial Risk Disclosure

In a development of potentially great significance for climate change disclosure and reporting issues, on August 27, 2008, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced (here) that Xcel Energy had entered a “binding and enforceable agreement” requiring the company “to disclose the financial risks that climate change poses to investors.” Xcel’s announcement regarding the agreement … Continue Reading