Exxon Mobile’s new CEO Darren Woods will hold his first annual meeting with shareholders on Wednesday, and climate change will be on the agenda. That’s not new for Exxon, which—like many other international oil majors—has grown accustomed to hearing calls from activist shareholders to reduce its carbon emissions and acknowledge climate risk. Yet, there is a unique element this time around: the meeting comes in the midst of an investigation by the New York and Massachusetts Attorneys General over whether Exxon fully disclosed to investors what it knew about the impacts of climate change.
Exxon’s role in—and understanding of—climate science has received a fair amount of public attention, including an environmentalist campaign aimed at demonstrating that Exxon knew about climate risks for decades. However, the implications of the legal case are actually far more expansive in scope than a simple examination of what Exxon knew or didn’t know, and when. On a broader level, it is a fairly significant test of the ability of states attorney generals to hold corporations accountable for their actions related to climate, with far-reaching consequences for the United States and global energy system.
If you haven’t been following the case, here’s a recap.
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