ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)

Carbon Majors Can Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations, Philippines Commission Rules

Read time: 5 mins
Climate justice now

By Isabella Kaminski, Climate Liability News. Originally published on Climate Liability News.

The world’s biggest polluters could be held legally liable for their contributions to climate change, a major national inquiry into the links between climate and human rights has concluded.

Years Before Exxon Valdez, Documents Show Exxon’s Imperial Oil Prioritized Public Image Over Spill Impacts

Read time: 8 mins
Imperial Oil Esso holding tanks

On February 4, 1970, the oil tanker SS Arrow was carrying a cargo of heavy bunker oil for Imperial Oil Limited when it encountered rough weather off the east coast of Canada. The ship’s captain had not sailed this route before and reportedly had no navigational charts. The ship itself had known problems with its navigation system. When the radar warned the crew of trouble ahead, the warning was ignored. The ship promptly ran aground on a well-known hazard, Cerberus Rock, ultimately spilling approximately 2.5 million gallons of oil, which coated 190 miles of shoreline.

Nearly two decades before the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in Alaska, the Arrow oil spill became a public relations black eye for Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon, and internal company documents published today by DeSmog and the Climate Investigations Center reveal that the company viewed the environmental disaster more in the context of improving its public image than improving safety measures that would reduce these types of environmental risks.

New Documents Reveal Exxon-owned Canadian Oil Giant's Shifting Climate Change PR

Read time: 9 mins
Imperial Oil gas station

It was 1971, less than a year after the world’s first Earth Day, and in Canada an oil giant was worried.

Public concern regarding environmental problems is being translated into legislation rapidly,” Imperial Oil warned in an annual research planning document dated January of that year. “The present trend in legislation will require substantial expenditures to reduce emissions and waste discharge for all facilities and reduce the impact on the environment of the products we sell.”

The Imperial Oil Files: New Collection Adds to Climate and Energy Research Archives On Science and Denial

Read time: 4 mins
ExxonMobil and Imperial Oil climate science denial

Today, DeSmog and the Climate Investigations Center are co-launching a large collection of documents from Exxon's Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Oil, that DeSmog collected from a company archive in Calgary over the past several years.

These documents add new context to the groundbreaking investigative reporting by Inside Climate News, and the Columbia School of Journalism in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, that revealed the #ExxonKnew conspiracy. Those journalistic efforts exposed the facts that Exxon’s own climate science research had confirmed the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming, and that the company pivoted away from that advanced knowledge, choosing instead to spend tens of millions of dollars funding climate science denial campaigns.

As New York Takes Exxon to Court, Big Oil’s Strategy Against Climate Lawsuits Is Slowly Unveiled

Read time: 12 mins
Rex Tillerson

By Dan Zegart

Last week, in a historic first, the former CEO of a major oil company took the witness stand in a New York City courtroom and spent four hours defending his company against charges that it misled investors about the potential impact of global warming on its viability as a business.   

Rex Tillerson, who led ExxonMobil from 2006 until the end of 2016 when he became U.S. secretary of state, was grilled by an attorney for the New York State attorney general for allegedly participating in a “longstanding fraudulent scheme” by Exxon to fool investors. More specifically, the company is charged with exaggerating the stringency of its financial safeguards in pricing risks from regulations restricting greenhouse gas emissions, according to the complaint filed last year in New York state court.    

But Tillerson's appearance was just one of several recent watershed moments for efforts to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for its dominant role in causing climate change.

New Report Explains How to Debunk ExxonMobil's Denial, as Legal Cases Against It Proceed

Read time: 4 mins
ExxonKnew protesters

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

On last Thursday evening, Bloomberg reported that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is proceeding with the state’s case against ExxonMobil for “engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices” in its efforts to cast doubt on climate science.

ExxonMobil brass may be particularly annoyed by the notification that Massachusetts is moving forward. This Wednesday, the oil giant will appear in a New York court for that state’s case against it. As E&E explains in an (unpaywalled) story, the New York case revolves around the company’s use of two sets of “proxy costs” to gauge how much of a hit the company would take from climate policies.

Oil Companies Sued by Baltimore Face Discovery in State Court

Read time: 3 mins
Tropical Storm Isabel flooding in Maryland

By Karen Savage, Climate Liability News. Originally published on Climate Liability News.

A federal appellate judge ruled that Baltimore’s climate liability suit will proceed in state court, rejecting a motion by more than two dozen fossil fuel defendants to halt the suit while they try to convince the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the case belongs in federal court.

Is Natural Gas the New Coal?

Read time: 7 mins
Greenhouse gas emissions from flaring and venting a fracked gas well

At a recent natural gas industry conference in Houston, Woodside Petroleum CEO Peter Coleman warned his colleagues to avoid the fate of another fossil fuel, according to trade publication Natural Gas Intelligence.

The industry really is at a critical juncture,” Coleman said. “We run the risk of being demonized like that other fossil fuel out there called coal.”

Oil and gas companies have been feeling mounting pressure, as signs emerge that oil is losing favor, both with the public amid climate concerns and with some investors.

Fossil Fuel Companies Roll out a New Era of Spin

Read time: 4 mins
ExxonMobil Baton Rouge oil refinery

By , Grist. This story originally appeared in Grist. It is republished here as part of DeSmog's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Forget “climate change” and “global warming”: Environmental advocates are increasingly using phrases that emphasize the urgency of our planetary pickle, such as “climate crisis,” “climate emergency,” and “existential threat.”

But do-gooders aren’t the only ones with savvy messaging techniques. Over the years, fossil fuel companies have poured millions into sowing doubt about climate science and burnishing their public image. Now, fossil fuel companies are reckoning with a different communications challenge: convincing their investors that the future of oil and gas companies is bright … or at least bright enough.

Op-ed: Geoengineering Distracts From Real Climate Solutions While Giving Cover to the Fossil Fuel Industry

Read time: 9 mins
3D rendering of Earth from space

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

In 2019, I think it's safe to say that humans are capable of wreaking great and terrible changes upon Earth's systems. To name a few: acid rain, deforestation, and climate change. Reversing such problems is, on its face, quite simple. Stop releasing smog-forming pollution. Stop cutting down forests. Stop burning fossil fuels.

In some cases, humanity has risen to these challenges, and for example, greatly reduced acid rain in North America since the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. But when it comes to climate change, there's a growing chorus, often bolstered by the fossil fuel industry, who support a controversial set of approaches to mitigating global warming, not by directly addressing the primary source of the problem — continuing to combust great volumes of oil, gas, and coal — but by further inducing massive changes to planetary systems.

I'm talking about geoengineering, and specifically solar geoengineering, which seeks to lessen global warming's greenhouse effect by reflecting sunlight, and heat, back out to space.

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