By Dave Sebastian


New York City has sued Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC and the trade group American Petroleum Institute for allegedly misleading consumers about the climate effects of the companies' products.

The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleges the oil-and-gas companies and the group violated the city's Consumer Protection Law by convincing customers that the purchase and use of their products contributes to addressing climate change. The city called the move "false and misleading" for not disclosing the effects associated with the use of fossil-fuel products.

"My Earth Day message to Big Oil: See you in court," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. Earth Day is April 22.

The complaint alleges the companies mischaracterized the size of their investments in low-emission technologies and zero-emission renewable energy on advertisements, social media and other promotional materials. Citing data from the International Energy Agency, the city said the investments comprise a small percentage of the companies' total business.

The city compared the industry's messaging with tobacco companies' advertising of "low tar" and "light" cigarettes as healthier smoking options.

A separate lawsuit filed by the city against Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and BP was recently dismissed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The city sued the companies for damages caused by global greenhouse gas emissions.

"In response to a significant loss in the 2nd Circuit, New York City is now attempting to litigate other meritless issues with this lawsuit," said Paul Afonso, chief legal officer of the American Petroleum Institute. "The record of the past two decades demonstrates that the industry has achieved its goal of providing affordable, reliable American energy to U.S. consumers while substantially reducing emissions and our environmental footprint."

BP said it doesn't comment on pending litigation. The Wall Street Journal has also reached out to Exxon and Shell.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 22, 2021 12:45 ET (16:45 GMT)

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