Report

National Whistleblower Center: Exposing a Ticking Time Bomb

Oil well at sunset

In their July report, the National Whistleblower Center explores the potential for climate risk fraud in the fossil fuel industry, and the work of whistleblowers, prosecutors and regulators as an important pathway to ensuring proper disclosures of climate risks.

In their July report, the National Whistleblower Center explores the potential for climate risk fraud in the fossil fuel industry, and the work of whistleblowers, prosecutors and regulators as an important pathway to ensuring proper disclosures of climate risks. An under-addressed phenomenon in current climate liability lawsuits is the dramatic understatement of risks posed by climate change to fossil fuel companies’ own financial condition and to the economy at large. This is the first report to use the methods of professional fraud investigators to identify fossil fuel industry financial disclosure practices that may constitute legally actionable fraud.

The report's key findings are as follows:

  1. Deception about the financial risks climate change is pervasive across the fossil fuel industry.
  2. The growing role of whistleblowers in the fight against fraud means the handful of pending securities fraud cases challenging these deceptions represent just the “tip of the iceberg.”
  3. Whistleblowers in the fossil fuel industry, like their predecessors in the tobacco, banking and healthcare industries, can play a central role in industry reform and help prevent a worldwide financial implosion.

The National Whistleblower Center recommends enforcement actions that can be taken today by potential whistleblowers, law enforcement officials and others to address climate risk fraud. They also recommend actions that policy makers and others can take to assist whistleblowers and otherwise improve the disclosure of climate risks by fossil fuel companies.

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is a tax-exempt, non-partisan organization dedicated to working with whistleblowers around the world to fight corruption and protect people and the environment. For over 30 years, NWC has won policies to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and reward them for helping deliver criminal and civil penalties against wrongdoers. You can read NWC's accountability documents here.