Climate Change

Extracting Useless Symbolic Climate Confessions from Fossil Fuel Purveyors

Is that a good use of New York state taxpayer dollars?

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Peabody
Bidnessetc

Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed that his office is investigating ExxonMobil to see if the oil giant has misled its investors with regard to the risks that climate regulation poses to its business. ExxonMobil is not alone in Schneiderman's climate crosshairs. Yesterday, the AG's office issued a press release touting the fact that the attorney general has extracted an agreement from the coal producer Peabody Energy to include a statement that recognizes that regulations aimed to protecting the climate might reduce its profitability.

Schneiderman evidently believes that investors are ignorant sheep that can be misled by wily corporate wolves. But is it really plausible that investors in fossil fuel producing companies could have somehow missed the clamor over the risks of future climate change that burning coal, oil and natural poses. The trend of Peabody's stock price suggests otherwise. It has dropped from over a $1,000 per share in 2011 to around $15 per share today.

Schneiderman's investigation found that the company had considered various regulatory scenarios that could substantially reduce demand for its coal and failed to put that information in its annual reports. However, beginning in 2011, the company has evidently stated in its annual reports:

Enactment of laws or passage of regulations regarding emissions from the combustion of coal by the U.S. or some of its states or by other countries, or other actions to limit such emissions, could result in electricity generators switching from coal to other fuel sources.

So what did the company agree to do? Among other things, the agreement reached with the NYAG states:

Enactment of laws or passabe of regulations regarding emissions from the combustion of coal by the U.S., some of its states or other countries, or other actions to limit such emissions, could result in electricity generators switching from coal to other fuel sources or coal-fueled power plant closures. … The potential financial impact on us of future laws, regulations or other policies will depend upon the degree to which any such laws or regulations force electricity generators to diminish their reliance on coal as a fuel sources. … From time to time, we attempt to analyze the potential impact of the Company of as-yet-unadopted, potential laws, regulations and policies. These analyses sometimes show that certain potential laws, regulations and policies, if implemented in the manner assumed by the analyses, could result in material adverse impacts on our operations, financial condition or cash flow, in view of the significant uncertainty surrounding each of these potential laws, regulations and policies. We do not believe that such analyses reasonably predict the quantitative impact of future laws, regulations or other policies may have on our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. (emphasis added)

With regard to the agreement, Peabody Energy noted in its press release:

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) announced today that it has reached a resolution with the New York Attorney General's (NYAG) office regarding the company's disclosures involving climate change. Following an extensive eight-year investigation initially discussed in the company's 2007 disclosures, Peabody has agreed to amend its disclosures. There is no other action associated with this settlement, no admission or denial of wrongdoing and no financial penalty. (emphasis added)

In the AG's the press release Schneiderman declares:

"As a publicly traded company whose core business generates massive amounts of carbon emissions, Peabody Energy has a responsibility to be honest with its investors and the public about the risks posed by climate change, now and in the future. I believe that full and fair disclosures by Peabody and other fossil fuel companies will lead investors to think long and hard about the damage these companies are doing to our planet."

Is Schneiderman's crusade to extract meaningless disclosures about future climate risks from fossil fuel companies really a good use of New York state taxpayer dollars?

Disclosure: I own 50 or 100 shares (I'm too lazy to check my statements) of ExxonMobil stock that I bought with my own money. The stock prices is down from $103 in 2014 to $83 yesterday.

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  1. The nation is descending into madness.

    1. The left is currently the greatest threat to liberty here. They are relentless on a number of front. I hope the tide can turn against them before it is too late, if it is not too late already.

    2. Yeah, some is, but look at this this way:
      Do you, or anyone else, pay the slightest attention to those warning sings posted on ladders, telling you that falling off could get you hurt?
      Well, the AG just added a new line of agate type at the bottom of the page along with “past performance is no guarantee….”
      It’d be hard to find a cheaper window for the gov’t and mud-huggers to break.

      1. It would be nice to believe in this Libertarian Moment thingy, but the direction is going 95% the other way.

        1. Freer and freer one regulation and tax at a time. But economic freedom really isn’t as important as your freedom to silence dissent, is it? That’s the true Libertarian Moment.

          1. you mean like what happened at Yale and Mizzou? Oh, that’s right; that was dissent being silenced. Or bullied, depending on your viewpoint.

            1. If the ugliest form of racism is when it actually directly affects an individual, we just saw that at Mizzou. The problem with Wolfe wasn’t that he did anything wrong, it was that he was a white male in power.

              Difference between me and the modern racial movements is that I don’t want you to feel bad for ME because of what happened to Wolfe, I just want you to understand that you’re the racist piece of shit in this story.

      2. It’d be hard to find a cheaper window for the gov’t and mud-huggers to break.

        IDK, we’re moving from pretty passive ‘I incurred an unknown risk’ to pretty active ‘you blindfolded and mugged me’ accusations here;

        But is it really plausible that investors in fossil fuel producing companies could have somehow missed the clamor over the risks of future climate change that burning coal, oil and natural poses through the fault of Exxon and Peabody…?

        I agree it’s another link in a very long chain, but we’re pretty clearly trying pretty innocent organizations for pretty distinct non-criminal acts at this point.

    3. No, Brooksie, “is descending” is present progressive (!) tense; this has already happened.

  2. why does it matter if this is a good use of taxpayer dollars or not, Ron? It’s the next phase in govt becoming a more heavily-armed and lawyered mob. And it’s going after “those people” which works well with govt cheer leaders.

  3. Yesterday, the AG’s office issued a press release touting the fact that the attorney general has extracted an agreement from the coal producer Peabody Energy to include a statement that recognizes that regulations aimed to protecting the climate might reduce its profitability.

    “Nice little oil company you’ve got here…”

  4. Any religion worth its salt needs an inquisition.

    Hey, anybody remember when the Left valued freedom of speech?

    1. Free speech for me, censors for thee…

  5. Disclosure: I own 50 or 100 shares (I’m too lazy to check my statements) of ExxonMobil stock that I bought with my own money. The stock prices is down from $103 in 2014 to $83 yesterday.

    Heretic! Witch! …wait. You’ve lost munny? That makes it ok then.

    1. Ron is the worst at humblebrags.

    2. No, it’s only OK if he, too, confesses his evil ways and embraces his victimhood.

  6. I just read Conor Friedersdorf’s article about the MU protests and what he calls the “weaponization of the safe space” and their treatment of the ESPN freelancer.

    In the video of Tim Tai trying to carry out his ESPN assignment, I see the most vivid example yet of activists twisting the concept of “safe space” in a most confounding way. They have one lone student surrounded. They’re forcibly preventing him from exercising a civil right. At various points, they intimidate him. Ultimately, they physically push him. But all the while, they are operating on the premise, or carrying on the pretense, that he is making them unsafe.

    I’ve been chastised in the past for making Kristallnacht references, but holy shit, some days it seems like we’re not very far away.

    1. “I’ve been chastised in the past for making Kristallnacht references,”
      I have ‘my struggles’ with that…

      1. [narrows gaze big-time at Sevo]

      2. Is there any solution?

          1. Couldn’t let the thread die without tipping my black, Totenkopf-bearing hat at that horrible pun.

            What comes after narrowed gaze in the list of Swiss Servator chastisements?

    2. Kristallnacht in a country as well-armed and disposed to self-protection as ours might be eye-popping for would-be pogromists.

    3. Seems he laid it out pretty well. Hopefully more will follow in his footsteps. There isn’t a mainstream defense for this crazy, so the more it gets dragged out in the open the worse off the progs will be.

    4. Jesus, that video is pathetic. We’re dealing with a real-life Bart vs. Lisa standoff:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfp-d6Bl9TU

  7. Paul LePage (Governor of Maine) wants to lift hydroelectric 100MW cap.

    Democrats say it could hurt wind and solar, so they don’t want it.

    http://bangordailynews.com/201…..ydropower/

    Is anyone still under the illusion that these fuck heads actually care about renewables or climate change? It is about straight up cronyism by the best of them, and state control by the worst of them.

    1. Yeah, hydropower dams can fuck with spawning, but proggies will never talk about the birds killed by those wind turbines.

      1. fish spawning, that is

        1. Goddamn spawn-campers, camping my spawns.

      2. I think they’ve pretty much got that under control now, though. Besides, they’re not talking about building new dams, they’re talking about using existing resources.

    2. Sen. John Cleveland, D-Auburn, Senate chairman of the Legislature’s Energy Committee, said adoption of the bill would place other renewable energy sources in Maine at risk of being priced out of the market.

      …snip…

      He also said if Canadian hydro producers want to sell their power in Maine or the U.S., there is no prohibition against them doing so.

      “You just simply compete in the marketplace like everyone else does,” Cleveland said.

      So if hydro producers aren’t allowed to compete due to regulatory restrictions on the market that serve to protect their competitors, but there are no “prohibitions” and they are free to compete with other electricity sources? That’s some fine doublethink there, Cleveland.

      1. Right, it’s like passing a law that there can only be 5 Uber drivers in the city and saying Uber gets to compete in the market place for transportation like everyone else.

        Sad thing is, there are so few people with even a basic understanding of economics that when some guy utters such bullshit they nod their heads with collective approval. “Look! We’re giving you guys free market, that’s what you want right?1 Can’t say we won’t compromise.”

  8. This sounds like big tobacco all over again.

    If we discover an oil company did a study and a scientist told them how much their own activity contributes to global warming–and that they kept producing oil anyway? There could be a flurry of lawsuits like the ones that dogged the tobacco industry. Everyone in the world who can claim any climate change damage as a result of oil being produced will join in a massive class action suit.

    Why wouldn’t the climate change alarmists do that?

    Better hope the Democrats don’t control Congress.

    1. The problem is that they don’t actually contribute that much. The contribution isn’t felt until you burn it in your car or at your home.

      Therefore, everyone owes everyone else. Who better to delegate where the money goes than government???!

      I love statism.

    2. Small Tobacco and Big Government.

    3. Small Tobacco and Big Government.

    4. This sounds like big tobacco all over again.

      I can’t wait for my monthly electric to go from $50 to $250.

  9. Great, just what we need. A bloody witch hunt, and somehow I bet the greens are going to forget to mention what specifically these companies didn’t tell investors when repeating this story.

  10. I made a lot of money in the late 90s by buying Philip Morris stock shortly after they lost a big lawsuit.

  11. And what will the True Believers have to say when rolling brownouts become commonplace?

  12. Gold to oil ratio at 23. Still a bit on high side, so gold will drop some more or oul will bounce back.

    5-20 is the “normal” range.

  13. Silver lining here is hydrocarbon biz realizing they cannot buy carbon clowns off. BP tried it with ‘Beyond Petroleum,’ Exxon has given million$ to likes of Sierra Club, and collectively the industry supplies endless lobbying handjobs for all kinds of ecopuke politicos.

    And what do they get for it? This AG idiot. The dithering Lightworker. The IPCC. These clowns flying to Carbon Con in Paris on hydrocarbon wings are an excellent example of Lenin’s scheme to ‘hang the capitalists with the rope they sold us’ in action. Think the hydrocarbon biz is now vividly aware of the creature they have been feeding – and hopefully will stop.

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  15. Those of us who live in New York will have to figure that out. It isn’t that compelling to me.

    But I do note Ronald that you were all for tax payer dollars spent on investigating the supposed climate gate affair. Even when Inhofe, after 4 previous investigations elsewhere proved nothing nefarious, had the Inspector General do it again at tax payer expense. And his conclusion?

    “In our review of the CRU e-mails, we did not find any evidence that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data ? or failed to adhere to appropriate peer review procedures.”

    At least the NY AG did better than that. You should have complained about that failed expense.

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