Exxon Acknowledges Climate Change, cuts CEI's funding

“We know enough now - or, society knows enough now - that the risk is serious and action should be taken.”

Exxon Vice President for Public Affairs Kenneth Cohen

In an interview reported in the Wall Street Journal today, Kenneth Cohen began to shift Exxon's corporate positioning on climate change, accepting the reliability of the science and announcing that Exxon has stopped funding climate change deniers like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Cohen also told the WSJ that Exxon is expecting regulatory action soon and wants to be part of the discussion.

Exxon wants any regulation to be applied across “the broadest possible base” of the economy, said Jaime Spellings, Exxon's general manager for corporate planning. Exxon says avoiding a ton of carbon-dioxide emissions is, with certain exceptions, less expensive in the power industry than in the transportation sector. Though solar energy remains expensive, reducing a ton of emissions by generating electricity from essentially carbon-free sources such as nuclear or wind energy is cheaper than reducing a ton of emissions through low-carbon transportation fuels such as ethanol.

This is a hugely positive development: the world's largest oil company has stopped denying the fact of global warming in favour of talking about how to address it.

Bring on reality.


It’s a start. Let’s hope the governments will start beleiving too.

Good to finally see some acknowledgment. It’s interesting, though, how they immediately go on the tangent of emphasizing emission reduction from power plants. It may be more expensive to address transportation fuels at this point (and probably less appealing to XOM), but there’s room for progress on such things as cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel production, and fuel economy.

I also find it interesting that they talk about reductions based on how electricity is generated and reductions based on the choice of fuel, but don’t go anywhere near increasing efficiency, using less power, or driving less.