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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

ExxonMobil notched a big win in the New York Supreme Court, but don't expect the victory to inoculate Big Oil against several other courtroom challenges over global warming.

Catch up fast: A judge ruled yesterday that the state's attorney general failed to show that the oil giant misled investors about the costs of addressing climate change. The decision called the claims "hyperbolic."

The big picture: Big Oil is facing a widening set of legal fights on climate change. Multiple attorneys said the decision based on New York fraud statutes will not spill into the cases that rest on separate allegations about costs to local governments from climate change.

  • "I don’t see today’s ruling as having any real effect on the other climate litigation involving municipalities alleging that oil companies created a public nuisance," UCLA law professor Ann Carlson tells Axios.
  • "The New York case involves is a very specific set of facts under a very specific state statute that is unique to the state," said Carlson, who does pro bono consulting for some municipalities that have brought cases.

But, but, but: The ruling could affect litigants who bring cases with securities fraud claims in other jurisdictions, one expert tells Axios.

  • "[W]hile the New York opinion is certainly not precedential in federal courts or another state court, the judge’s opinion will be relevant to other cases considering similar questions," Harvard's Hana V. Vizcarra says.
  • "There is nearly no previous case law directly addressing climate-related information, so this case will definitely be looked to as a reference in cases involving corporate assessments of climate change risks," says Vizcarra, a lawyer with Harvard Law School’s Environmental & Energy Law Program.

The New York decision, while a clear win for Exxon, had a thin silver lining for activists as Judge Barry Ostrager noted what the decision wasn't about.

"Nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve ExxonMobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases in the production of its fossil fuel products."
— Judge Ostrager

Where it stands: In October, Massachusetts filed a fraud case against Exxon in state court there.

  • The Boston Globe explores the similarities and differences between that suit — which also goes after Exxon's claims in its advertising — and the New York case.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This piece was updated to add info on Ann Carlson's pro bono work.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 mins ago - Technology

AI could end foreign-language subtitles

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

AI companies are developing methods to translate and synthesize voices in ads, movies and TV.

Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 9 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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