Channel 4 exposes ExxonMobil’s lobbying against climate change legislation

Barry White

A senior ExxonMobil lobbyist has been captured on camera revealing how the oil giant is using its power and influence to water down US climate legislation, yesterday’s Channel 4 News revealed (https://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-exxonmobils-lobbying-war-on-climate-change-legislation).

The recordings appear to reveal the secretive behind-the-scenes activities of a lobbyist for a company that claims in public to support the Paris climate agreement, while working against legislative attempts to tackle efforts to tackle climate change in the United States, the  undercover investigation by Unearthed has found (https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2021/06/30/exxon-climate-change-undercover/ ).

Channel 4 News obtained recordings from Unearthed, Greenpeace UK’s investigative platform, that showed a lobbyist for oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, Keith McCoy, saying the company had fought legislative action on climate change. He was talking on a Zoom call in which Unearthed investigators posed as head-hunters looking to hire a lobbyist for their client.

ExxonMobil say they “have supported climate science for decades” and accuse Greenpeace of “waging a multi-decade campaign” against their company and industry. They insist their “lobbying fully comply with all laws and are publicly disclosed on a quarterly basis.”

Not so says Unearthed. They maintain that ExxonMobil continues to fight efforts to tackle climate change in the United States, despite publicly claiming to support measures to reduce it. A senior lobbyist for Exxon told an undercover reporter that the company had been working to weaken key aspects of President Joe Biden’s flagship initiative on climate change, the American Jobs Plan. He described Biden’s new plan to slash US greenhouse gas emissions as “insane” and admitted that the company had aggressively fought early climate science through “shadow groups” to protect its investments.

Unearthed reports that Exxon claims to support global effort to tackle climate change, but it hasn’t always. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the company orchestrated a multimillion-dollar disinformation campaign that manufactured doubt regarding the link between global warming and the burning of fossil fuels.

Exxon also helped to found and lead a powerful cross-industry group, the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), which spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning against a binding global climate agreement ahead of the 1997 UN climate summit in Kyoto.

The organisation spent $13 million dollars on one advertising campaign alone, aiming to weaken US support for an agreement in Kyoto. They succeeded as the US Congress refused to ratify Kyoto and Exxon later lobbied the Bush administration to pull out of the protocol altogether.

California Congressman, Rep. Ro Khanna, told Unearthed: “For decades, fossil fuel companies have lied to the public, to regulators, and to Congress about the true danger posed by their products. Today’s tape only proves our knowledge that the industry’s disinformation campaign is alive and well. In the coming months, I plan to ask the CEOs of Exxon, Chevron, and other fossil fuel companies to come testify before my Environment subcommittee. We can no longer allow Exxon, or any other companies, to prevent our collective action on the climate crisis.”

A spokesman for ExxonMobil said that the allegations put to them: “contained a number of important factual misstatements that are starkly at odds with our positions on a variety of issues, including climate policy and our firm commitment to carbon pricing.”

However, it is clear from the Unearthed reports that shareholders short term interests come before the planet’s interests – which is about our survival. Failure to tackle the climate emergency will make their shares worthless in the long run anyway!

Latest- An Apology: Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods says the company is “deeply apologetic” over comments caught on camera in a secret filming by Greenpeace that show one of the oil giant’s lobbyists saying a carbon tax the company has promoted for years is unlikely to happen.

“Comments made by the individuals in no way represent the company’s position on a variety of issues, including climate policy and our firm commitment that carbon pricing is important to addressing climate change,” Woods said in a statement Wednesday after the Greenpeace footage was aired by the U.K.’s Channel 4 News.

Referring to comments describing how the oil giant was pushing to dilute climate provisions in President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Bill, Channel 4 reported Woods said: “We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials.”

“They are entirely inconsistent with the way we expect our people to conduct themselves. We were shocked by these interviews and stand by our commitments to working on finding solutions to climate change.”

Source https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-30/exxon-ceo-apologizes-for-lobbyist-s-comments-in-leaked-video

The statement was also reported on Channel 4 News tonight.

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