On Earth Day, I was one of about a dozen activists poised to deliver petitions bearing hundreds of signatures, to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

We were urging her to join state attorneys general from New York, California and a number of other spots in investigating Exxon, in various historic incarnations, for its institutional dishonesty around climate change.

Business school grads, like law school grads, are sophisticated people, called upon to remain alert to every sort of trend as a professional responsibility. So it’s significant, as I’ve learned only in the last few days, that Exxon’s top management was probably aware of global warming, for the first time, long, long ago.

Rumor is, the year had a six as its third digit. As a possible 50th anniversary approaches, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that, “They knew!” And rather than manage a public-spirited transition to a renewable future, something off of which they could also have profited handsomely, they stonewalled everything to maintain the profiteering status quo.

I’d just add, that if they had, even 40 or 35 years ago, we’d already be living that renewable future, and that in the interim, warming has become more unmistakable, more clearly man-made, and more threatening.

If corporate responsibility for recent mega-storms, like Sandy and Katrina, was at a 50-percent level, there would obviously be criminal levels of damage, but in the U.S., that may not lead to criminal convictions.

My guess, as a matter of legal recourse, the notion that Exxon knowingly lied to shareholders about the situation is more likely to become an effective criminal predicate or avenue to civil remedies.

As capitalists, we all know that only widows and orphans own common shares in publicly traded corporations.

James Silin