New Report Warns That Fossil Fuel Industry Deception About Climate Risks Represents a Ticking Time Bomb Threatening the Global Financial System

Recommends Actions for Whistleblowers, Law Enforcement Authorities to Protect Investors, the Environment and the Economy

Published on July 23, 2020

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New Report Warns That Fossil Fuel Industry Deception About Climate Risks Represents a Ticking Time Bomb Threatening the Global Financial System

WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 23, 2020 — The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) released a report today detailing widespread deception by fossil fuel executives regarding the financial risks of climate change. The report describes why deception about companies’ preparedness for climate change risks represents a ticking time bomb that, if not addressed, could contribute to worldwide economic devastation.

The report, entitled Exposing a Ticking Time Bomb: How Fossil Fuel Industry Fraud is Setting Us Up for a Financial Implosion – and What Whistleblowers Can Do About It, calls for collaborative investigations by whistleblowers and law enforcement authorities of likely securities fraud violations.

“In light of the deceptions we found, the handful of pending fraud cases challenging climate risk disclosures by fossil fuel companies are probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said John Kostyack, NWC Executive Director and lead author of the report. “We anticipate that the number of cases and defendants will increase dramatically in the near future once potential whistleblowers learn about the benefits of modern whistleblower laws and begin providing information to regulators and prosecutors about climate risk deceptions along the lines of those outlined in our report.”

“Whistleblowers have proven time and again that they are the key to exposing and prosecuting law-breaking,” said Stephen M. Kohn, NWC Board Chairman and leading whistleblower attorney. “With the protections and incentives provided by the Dodd-Frank Act and other whistleblower laws, we have the ingredients we need to confront likely fraud in the fossil fuel industry.”

The report, written by a team of NWC experts, provides the first-ever analysis of legal strategies for exposing climate risk fraud by the fossil fuel sector. It also represents the first study to use the methods of professional fraud investigators to identify fossil fuel industry financial disclosure practices that are likely to be fraudulent.

The key findings of the report include:

  • Deception about the financial risks of climate change is pervasive across the fossil fuel industry.
  • 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.
  • 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.

In continuation of its work on climate change, next week NWC will be announcing a major new university partnership to provide a hub for sharing information and ideas about climate risk disclosure. NWC is also convening a panel of experts on this topic at its National Whistleblower Appreciation Day conference on July 30th.

For more information, please contact Nick Younger at

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