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Exxon wins New York climate change fight

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility behind a lake reclaimed from an old mine near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada on October 22, 2009. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Exxon was accused of misleading investors about the potential cost of financial regulation

Exxon Mobil has won a court battle in New York in which it was accused of misleading investors about the costs of addressing climate change.

The state had argued that oil giant used two figures to calculate the risks of climate change, misrepresenting the cost in public disclosures.

Exxon had denied wrongdoing. It said the two figures served different purposes.

A New York judge said the evidence presented supported that claim.

"What the evidence at trial revealed is that Exxon Mobil executives and employees were uniformly committed to rigorously discharging their duties in the most comprehensive and meticulous manner possible," Judge Barry Ostrager of Manhattan Supreme Court said.

Exxon, which had called the suit politically motivated, hailed the victory.

"Today's ruling affirms the position ExxonMobil has held throughout the New York Attorney General's baseless investigation," it said. "We provided our investors with accurate information on the risks of climate change."

"Lawsuits that waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change," it added.

New York's attorney general filed the lawsuit against Exxon in 2018, after years of investigation. The trial started in October. It had been closely watched as one of the most high-profile of a rising number of suits against the company.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said despite her loss in court, the case had forced Exxon to "answer publicly" about its decision-making related to climate change.

"We will continue to fight to ensure companies are held responsible for actions that undermine and jeopardize the financial health and safety of Americans across our country, and we will continue to fight to end climate change," she said in a statement.

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