#ExxonKnew

Will Rex Tillerson Come Clean About What #ExxonKnew, As Company Itself Has Been Ordered To Do?

Caricature of Rex Tillerson

Update 1/19/2017: Our Children's Trust, a legal NGO helping represent the youth case, posted that Rex Tillerson's deposition is being delayed while the case's lawyers meet to resolve a dispute.

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, is set to be deposed today by lawyers for a group of 21 young plaintiffs, aged 9 to 20, who filed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. government failed to protect their rights to life, liberty, and property by not taking action to halt global warming.

The deposition comes just one day before Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president — and a little more than a week after a Massachusetts judge ruled that Exxon must hand over more than 40 years of its internal research on climate change, denying the oil giant’s request for a protective order that would have blocked Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's subpoenas.

#DayAgainstDenial Protests Across the U.S. Call Attention to Climate Change as Trump Cabinet Confirmation Hearings Begin

President-elect Donald Trump's nominees for the Cabinet began appearing before the U.S. Senate to start their confirmation hearing process on Tuesday — and some of the slots to be filled will have major implications for American climate change policies. Rex Tillerson, who announced his retirement as CEO of ExxonMobil, is scheduled to appear before the Senate on Wednesday, as is Elaine Chao, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Transporation.

On Monday, environmentalists nationwide organized protests at senators' home offices, with organizers calling on their representatives to refuse to confirm Cabinet nominees hostile to combating climate change.

Lamar Smith

Lamar S. Smith

Credentials

Lamar Smith earned a a bachelor's degree in 1969 at Yale University and a law degree in 1975 at Southern Methodist University School of Law. [1]

Background

Representative Lamar S. Smith is a U.S. Republican Representative for Texas's 21st congressional district and Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology[2]

Smoke and Fumes: Six Decades of Oil-Tobacco Nexus of Deception and Attacks on Science

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today expanded its website SmokeandFumes.org, featuring a new video and more internal industry documents dating back to the 1950s that reveal the nexus between the oil and tobacco industries’ shared campaigns to undermine science to delay accountability and political action to curtail their deadly products.

CIEL has uncovered new evidence showing that it was the work performed for the oil industry by PR firms (particularly Hill & Knowlton) that attracted the tobacco industry to follow suit — in contrast to the prevailing narrative that Big Oil deployed the Tobacco Playbook to ward off responsibility for climate change resulting from its fossil fuel pollution.

Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett in a statement. “It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized and sought out.”

Exxon Increases Funding to Energy Think-Tank Run By Former Top Obama Energy Aide

According to ExxonMobil's 2015 annual worldwide giving report, the company has upped the ante and increased its funding of Columbia University's influential Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) to the tune of $50,000 for that year. 

That's an increase over the $25,000 the “private empire” gave to CGEP in 2014, as we reported in December. Run and founded by Jason Bordoff, President Obama's former Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change on the Staff of the National Security Council, CGEP also features other big names: Carlos Pascual, former head of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Bureau of Energy Resources and Global Shale Gas Initiative; Keith Benes, former Obama Administration State Department attorney-adviser; Jim Rogers, former CEO of coal giant Duke Energy and many others. 

Lamar “McCarthy 2.0” Smith Subpoenas #ExxonKnew Investigators

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

For those still hungry for more #WebofDenial, here’s a quick roundup of the content before getting to the more recent news: the groups accused of working together on climate denial unsurprisingly worked together to deny these accusations in a joint letter, then repeated their false first amendment defense at Heartland and the National Review, and threw up gish gallops at Heritage and CEI. On the other side, Monday’s text-searchable Hill speeches start on page 89 of the Congressional Record, Tuesday’s start on 213.

Videos are up on YouTube for Senators MarkeyBoxerUdallShaheenPeters, and Tim Kaine, while Media Matters has a compilation of speeches by Shatz, Franken, Heinrich and Whitehouse about the #WebofDenial’s media manipulations. Senator Whitehouse was also interviewed at The Nation, and quoted in coverage by Kate Sheppard, while the Senator’s own op-ed about the 100+ opinion pieces attacking the #ExxonKnew campaign was published in CJR.

In the aftermath of this massive two day effort to detail the #WebofDenial, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Lamar Smith, announced on Wednesday that he was issuing subpoenas for communications between climate denial groups and their fossil fuel funders.

Meaningless, Mean-Spirited McCarthyism: Lamar Smith’s Ironic Investigations

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who’s received more funding from fossil fuels than any other industry, has repeated his request for private communications between the attorneys general investigating what #ExxonKnew and a handful of NGOs who have exercised their constitutional right to petition those AGs.

As chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith has taken it upon himself to return Congress to the glory days of Joseph McCarthy, only instead of smoking out communists, Smith is hunting for those who threaten his fossil fuel donor base.

Exxon, Koch Ties May Help Explain Rep. Lamar Smith's Probing Request of "Exxon Knew" Environmental Groups

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith recently caused a ruckus by targeting environmental groups that are pushing for ExxonMobil to be held accountable for funding climate change denial despite their deep internal corporate knowledge of the role of fossil fuel pollution in global warming. Rep. Smith penned letters to several environmental groups and foundations requesting all of their communications about the ongoing “Exxon Knew” campaign.

Some of the groups and foundations have issued public responses refusing to provide the materials to Smith, who heads up the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Not yet reported, though, are the extensive ties — monetary and personnel — binding Smith to the crucial corporate funders of climate denial: ExxonMobil and Koch Industries

According to Oil Change International's Dirty Energy Money database, Smith has taken $22,270 in campaign contributions from Exxon since 1998. And OpenSecrets.org data reveals that $19,500 of the Exxon money has flowed to Smith's campaign since 2008 alone. 

OpenSecrets.org data reviewed by DeSmog also shows that Smith has taken $52,000 in campaign contributions from Koch Industries — another key node of the climate denial machine — since 2006.

All told, Lamar Smith — a climate change denier — has received $675,597 from the oil and gas industry since 1998.

Exxon Sues MA Attorney General In Retaliatory Attempt To Intimidate ‘Exxon Knew’ Climate Accountability Movement

Acting like a wounded and cornered beast, ExxonMobil has launched what appears to be a blatantly retaliatory and frivolous lawsuit against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Beneath a very thin veil, this legal maneuver by Exxon is seemingly an effort to intimidate any and all who seek to hold the oil giant accountable for its multi-million dollar campaign to attack climate science and sow doubt through decades of deception.

Just to remind everyone – 17 Attorneys General are investigating what Exxon knew about climate science and when, as well as what the company has done to potentially mislead policymakers and the public in order to delay action to address climate change.

Exxon has claimed that there has always been uncertainty within the company about the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change.

Yet, as InsideClimate News and the LA Times and Columbia School of Journalism and the Center for International Environmental Law and other investigations have pointed out, Exxon and others in the oil industry had advanced knowledge of the link between fossil fuel combustion and global warming decades ago.

And DeSmog uncovered an Exxon document that unequivocally stated the company’s knowledge in the late 1970s. Read DeSmog's investigation: “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

Houston Chronicle Business Columnist Calls for Exxon Climate Denial Investigation, Slams Paxton, Cites DeSmog Research

In case you missed this excellent article over the weekend, “Exxon Mobil documents call for a thorough investigation,” Houston Chronicle business columnist Chris Tomlinson cites DeSmog’s research in a hard-hitting call for state attorneys general to continue investigating Exxon’s potentially fraudulent efforts to mislead the public and investors about climate change risks.

The Chronicle's business columnist also takes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to task for his industry-friendly efforts to pour cold water on the important investigations underway by 17 state Attorneys General looking at Exxon’s history of climate denial. Tomlinson minces no words in slamming Paxton as “a man bold enough to remain in office while facing state and federal fraud charges. The former corporate lawyer has proved he's a political pawn who could care not less about law enforcement, because there is certainly enough evidence to warrant an investigation into Exxon Mobil.”

Tomlinson cites internal corporate documents recently uncovered by DeSmog’s investigative journalism team in which corporate officials claimed in the late 1970s that “there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

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