They're trying for "Engaging in deceptive trade practices in violation of NYC Code § 20-700", in three variants: "misrepresenting the purported environmental benefit of using their fossil fuel products and failing to disclose the risks of climate change caused by those products"; "deceived NYC consumers by engaging in false and misleading greenwashing campaigns"; and one for the API. The API one I think is dull; or at least, I don't care. The second count I also find uninteresting and not especially plausible. And for the sake of brevity-of-examples, I'm going to only consider Exxon. They're the Evilest, after all, aren't they?
But perhaps they have a case on their first grounds? This too seems dubious; indeed, surprisingly dubious. By which I mean that although they repeatedly say stuff like (p. 6) misrepresenting the climate impacts of various gasoline products sold at their branded service stations in the City. In a bid to reassure consumers that purchasing these products is good for the planet, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP advertise them as “cleaner” and “emissions-reducing,” but fail to disclose their harmful effects on the climate, it isn't until p. 24 that we get the first example, ExxonMobil Synergy. And that seems to be about it. And Exxon's marketing sin is According to ExxonMobil, Synergy Supreme+ will enhance vehicle fuel economy in newer engines designed to meet tougher vehicle emissions standards. Or perhaps helps consumers “[r]educe emissions and burn cleaner,” and “was created to let you drive cleaner, smarter and longer”. Or We’re continually innovating to develop products that enable customers to reduce their energy use and CO2 emissions. But sadly for New York, these claims are arguably true. The suit does its rather feeble best to call them true-but-misleading (actually I don't think they can bring themselves to admit they're true, they just say misleading, meh) but that seems unlikely to fly to me.
Also, some idiot has taught them to say "tobacco" as often as they can, under the mistaken impression that this amounts to logical argument. Or am I wrong about that? This is all politically driven; they probably don't even understand the concept of logical argument. If anyone has lied to New York consumers, it's New York pols.
Conveniently, there are reports on this, so let's hear it from Shell: A spokeswoman for Shell told Changing America, "We are disappointed to see the City of New York file yet another climate change lawsuit after the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of what is functionally the same suit mere weeks ago. Tackling climate change is a significant challenge the world faces today; it requires smart policy from government supported by inclusive action from all business sectors, including ours, and from society as a whole. We intend to play a leading, transparent and collaborative role in helping society face this challenge." I think Shell have learnt to talk the talk better than new York has. I'm slightly doubtful that it is "functionally the same" but it's a good line to take, at least in public.
* Security Vulnerabilities in Cellebrite - Schneier
* 2020: Yet moah climate suing.
* 2019: Moah suing news.
* 2018: Yet more climate suing.