Exxon Mobil

Who Are the Expert Witnesses Hand Picked by Lamar Smith to Testify on #ExxonKnew Subpoenas?

In July, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith, issued subpoenas to two state attorneys general who are currently investigating what ExxonMobil knew about climate science, when they knew it, and if the company misled investors. 

The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts both refused to turn over any information or communications about their investigations. Each AG's office argued the Committee had no authority to issue such a request, calling the subpoenas a violation of states' rights under the 10th amendment.

In a response last month, Smith, a Republican from Texas, announced a hearing to “affirm” that his Committee did have the legal authority to issue such subpoenas. The legal issue the September 14 hearing will address is whether a Congressional committee has subpoena power over state attorneys general and non-profit advocacy organizations. The subpoena was called “an unprecedented effort to target ongoing state law enforcement 'investigations or potential prosecutions'” by Leslie Dubeck, an attorney in the Office of the New York State Attorney General.

Smith has called three legal experts to bolster his claim — two with direct ties to the same Exxon-funded groups who have pushed climate science denial and inaction to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

#TimetoCallOut the Impressive McCarthy-Hypocrisy of the #WebofDenial Response

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

In response to the 19 Congressional climate hawks deciding that it is #TimetoCallOut the fossil fuel industry for its use of tobacco and lead-industry PR tactics, the #WebofDenial proves its efficacy even while trying to dispute their very existence. For example, the Koch-operative-created Washington Free Beacon’s initial coverage of an email outlining which speakers called out what groups was quickly echoed at the Koch-partnered website, The Daily Caller. That story also features quotes from an ALEC spokeswoman making the free speech defense- a common thread in the #WebofDenial. (One that Sen. Whitehouse called out last week.)

Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

On Monday and Tuesday this week, at least 19 U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action will speak out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

Joined in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Lieu (D- CA), these champions for climate action and accountability in the Senate are calling out the use of think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups to create doubt about climate science. Read the resolution [PDF].

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.

“There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

Throughout Exxon’s global operations, the company knew that CO2 was a harmful pollutant in the atmosphere years earlier than previously reported.

DeSmog has uncovered Exxon corporate documents from the late 1970s stating unequivocally “there is no doubt” that CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels was a growing “problem” well understood within the company.

It is assumed that the major contributors of CO2 are the burning of fossil fuels… 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. Technology exists to remove CO2 from stack gases but removal of only 50% of the CO2 would double the cost of power generation.” [emphasis added]

Those lines appeared in a 1980 report, “Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979,” produced by Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary.

State Investigations Into What Exxon Knew Double, and Exxon Gets Defensive

On Tuesday, the number of state attorneys general investigating ExxonMobil for potential climate denial fraud doubled. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker announced that they have opened up their own probes of what Exxon knew about climate change while it was denying the realities of climate science publicly and to shareholders

They follow the lead of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — who in November 
first issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil for hundreds of thousands of pages of documents about the company's climate science research and internal communications spanning over four decades — and of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who announced that state's investigation in January.

News of these investigations in Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands came as attorneys general and their representatives gathered in Manhattan for a daylong conference on climate change. During the proceedings, the top legal authorities from 15 states, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia announced a coalition to collaborate on legal efforts to “deal with climate change,” as Schneiderman put it.

Investors Urge Oil Companies to Stress Test Portfolios Against Two Degree Scenario

Earlier this month Bill McKibben wrote that “Across the northern hemisphere, the temperature, if only for a few hours, apparently crossed a line: it was more than two degrees Celsius above “normal” for the first time in recorded history.”

Of course this comes on the heels of February breaking temperature records in such a stunning fashion that it resulted in a comment from NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt of simply - “Wow.”  

Seeing as the Paris climate agreement set a goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius above “normal” this would appear to stress the urgency of addressing climate change and ending our dependence on fossil fuels.

That's why many investors in oil companies are now asking the companies to address this reality by stress testing their portfolios against a scenario where the two degree goal is achieved. The only way to achieve this goal is to leave a significant amount of oil company assets “stranded” or “in the ground.”

During Paris Climate Summit, Obama Signed Exxon-, Koch-Backed Bill Expediting Pipeline Permits

Just over a week before the U.S. signed the Paris climate agreement at the conclusion of the COP21 United Nations summit, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law with a provision that expedites permitting of oil and gas pipelines in the United States.

The legal and conceptual framework for the fast-tracking provision on pipeline permitting arose during the fight over TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. President Barack Obama initially codified that concept via Executive Order 13604 — signed the same day as he signed an Executive Order to fast-track construction of Keystone XL's southern leg — and this provision “builds on the permit streamlining project launched by” Obama according to corporate law firm Holland & Knight.

What Happened to Obama's 'Planet in Peril' Rhetoric?

We know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century,” the newly elected president Barack Obama said in 2008 during his victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. 

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there,” he told the assembled public. “I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

Obama was in his own inimitable style promising to meet the challenge of climate change – while acknowledging that the resistance of the oil monopolies dominating the American energy market would be fierce.

ExxonMobil ‘Nimby’ CEO Makes Fresh Calls for Fracking in Europe

Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, has called for European governments to support fracking, despite being called out as a ‘nimby’ last year.

Speaking at the World Gas Conference in Paris this week, he claimed that the large number of wells already fracked in the US and Canada have proven that the technology is safe.

However, just last year, Tillerson joined a lawsuit citing fracking’s consequences in order to stop the construction of a 160-foot water tower as it would harm the value of his $5 million home in Texas.

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