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SEC’s Exxon Probe: the ‘Tipping Point’ for Oil & Gas Climate Change Accounting?

ExxonMobilExxonMobil’s climate change accounting is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission — and this could have major implications for the oil and gas industry, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The SEC probe is focusing on how Exxon calculates its business risk from climate change, including the figures it use to project future costs of complying with emissions regulations.

Andrew Logan, director of the oil and gas program at sustainable business group Ceres, told the Wall Street Journal that the SEC investigation shows the financial community is taking climate change risk seriously. “It’s a potential tipping point not just for Exxon, but for the industry as a whole,” he said.

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers told the newspaper that Exxon is “fully complying with the SEC request for information and [we] are confident our financial reporting meets all legal and accounting requirements.”

The SEC investigation follows similar investigations by several state attorney generals including New York, Massachusetts and the US Virgin Islands, which have subpoenaed Exxon to find out whether Exxon lied to the public and investors about its business risks posed by climate change.

Exxon has said the legal maneuvers are an assault on its constitutional rights and filed its own lawsuits against Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey and US Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker to stop these states’ investigations.

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