#ExxonKnew

Window Dressing: Exxon Reluctantly Crosses the Climate Threshold

Exxon gas station sign

This is a guest post by Dick Russell.

The day before President Trump made his decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate accord, ExxonMobil reluctantly crossed a climate threshold.

A majority of shareholders, over 62 percent, voted in favor of America’s biggest oil company releasing detailed analyses of the risks that climate change poses to its business. 

Having previously argued that sufficient information is already being provided, CEO Darren Woods relented far enough to say that Exxon would “take the vote seriously [and] will respond to that feedback and look for opportunities” to communicate. Woods did not, however, agree to produce a requested report.  

Court Papers Claim Rex Tillerson Approved Misleading Carbon Accounting Scheme While ExxonMobil Boss

By Dan Zegart, orginally published at Climate Investigations Center.

Former ExxonMobil CEO and now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson personally approved a scheme for accounting for the financial impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the company's business that deliberately misled investors, one that continued right through ExxonMobil's May 31st shareholders', according to an explosive court filing by the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman claims that beginning in 2007, ExxonMobil used one set of figures in describing carbon-related risks to investors but internally used another, secret set.  The net result was to vastly understate the financial danger to the company.

The June 2nd court filing also accuses the ExxonMobil of destroying countless documents despite the fact that it had a legal obligation to preserve all records potentially relevant to the attorney general's investigation, which is probing possible fraud in ExxonMobil's disclosures about climate change to investors and the public. 

Exxon Shareholders Demand Report on How Climate Policy Puts its Business at Risk

Exxon sign

It’s all a bit weird. After a shareholder vote, Exxon again finds itself in the unaccustomed position of being out ahead of the US government on climate change action.

At the company’s AGM yesterday, shareholders agreed to force the company to disclose the impacts of stringent climate policy on its business model. Exxon’s management were against the move.

The resolution doesn’t actually require Exxon to take action to cut its emissions. It just says the company must tell investors how the value of its business might be affected if the world really started to take climate policy seriously.

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

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.

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