Exposing Exxon’s Lies

Exxon lies a lot in public.

So we think it’s worthwhile to go through their public statements and shed light on their lies. Because Exxon knew about climate change in the 1970’s, and they’ve denied and muddied climate science ever since.

Click on the yellow text below to see the truth about Exxon.


Exxon Blog Reponse
ExxonMobil Asks Federal Court to Invalidate New York Attorney General’s Subpoena
ExxonMobile News Release (October 17, 2016)

IRVING, Texas — ExxonMobil today asked a federal court to invalidate a subpoena issued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, calling investigations by New York and Massachusetts biased attempts to further a political agenda for financial gain.

The request came in the form of a motion to amend a pending action to invalidate a similar civil investigation demand issued by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

“Attorney General Schneiderman has publicly accused ExxonMobil of engaging in a ‘massive securities fraud’ without any basis whatsoever, and Attorney General Healey declared, before her investigation even began, that she knew how it would end: with a finding that ExxonMobil violated the law,” said the company’s amended complaint, in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The improper political bias that inspired the New York and Massachusetts investigations disqualifies Attorneys General Schneiderman and Healey from serving as the disinterested prosecutors required by the Constitution.”

ExxonMobil has cooperated with the New York investigation of its nearly 40-year history of climate research since it began last year and has turned over more than 1 million pages of documents.

However, increasingly political and biased statements by Schneiderman and his office — as well as revelations from third-party disclosures about secret and deliberately concealed collaboration with anti-oil and gas activists and a private law firm — have confirmed that he and Healey are incapable of impartial investigations and are attempting to silence political opponents who disagree on the appropriate policies to address climate change.

The company cited recent statements by Schneiderman and his office that confirmed it abandoned the original pretext for the investigation — into ExxonMobil’s historic climate research — and is now evaluating the so-called stranded asset theory about whether ExxonMobil’s oil and gas reserves can be produced in the future because of global efforts to address climate change.

“It is now apparent that Attorney General Schneiderman is simply searching for a legal theory, however flimsy, that will allow him to pressure ExxonMobil on the policy debate over climate change.”

The investigation of the stranded-asset theory is “particularly egregious because it cannot be reconciled with binding regulations issued by the SEC, which apply strict guidelines to the estimation of proved reserves,” said ExxonMobil’s filing.

The SEC is the appropriate entity to examine issues related to reserves and other communications important to investors. ExxonMobil is fully cooperating with an SEC request for information and is confident its financial reporting meets all legal and accounting requirements.

ExxonMobil addresses the potential for future climate change policy, including the potential for restrictions on emissions, by estimating a proxy cost of carbon, which seeks to reflect potential policies governments may employ related to the exploration, development, production, transportation or use of carbon-based fuels.

ExxonMobil Climate Position Outlined in Filing

ExxonMobil stressed in the filing that for more than a decade, it has widely and publicly confirmed that it recognizes the risk of climate change and its potential impacts on society and ecosystems.

ExxonMobil’s filing said numerous statements illustrating bias were made during and following a highly publicized March press conference hosted by Schneiderman and attended by Healey, other attorneys general and former vice president Al Gore.

It has been revealed through freedom of information law disclosures that prior to the press conference, the attorneys general were secretly briefed by Matthew Pawa, a lawyer who has unsuccessfully sued oil and gas companies over climate change, and Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an activist organization that has been targeting ExxonMobil for nearly a decade.

“Frumhoff and Pawa have sought for years to initiate and promote litigation against fossil fuel companies in the service of their political agenda and for private profit,” said the ExxonMobil filing.

“The attorneys general in attendance at the press conference understood that the participation of Frumhoff and Pawa, if reported, could expose the private, financial and political interests behind the announced investigations. The day after the conference, a reporter from The Wall Street Journal contacted Pawa. Before responding, Pawa dutifully asked [the] Chief of Attorney General Schneiderman’s Environmental Protection Bureau, ‘[w]hat should I say if she asks if I attended?’ [The Chief] — the [same] Assistant Attorney General who had sent the New York subpoena to ExxonMobil in November 2015 — encouraged Pawa to conceal from the press and the public the closed-door meetings. He responded, ‘[m]y ask is if you speak to the reporter, to not confirm that you attended or otherwise discuss the event.’”


Exxon Blog Reponse
ExxonMobil Continues to Spin #WebOfDenial In Response To Lawsuit
This is a cross-post from The Conservation Law Foundation’s Blog (Sep 30, 2016)
Written by Veronica Eady

In Exxon’s Shadow from Conservation Law Foundation CLF on Vimeo.

Yesterday, we officially filed suit against ExxonMobil for its endangerment of communities along the Mystic River. It is the first lawsuit of its kind since revelations last year about the corporation’s decades-long campaign to discredit climate science, and focuses specifically on Exxon’s violations of both the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), laws designed to protect the health and safety of waterfront communities in the face of climate change.

Unsurprisingly, Exxon is already on the defensive. In an attempt to save face and discredit our suit, the company issued the following response, as reported by The Huffington Post:

“This lawsuit is based on discredited and inaccurate claims by activists about ExxonMobil’s nearly 40-year history of support for climate research that was conducted publicly. … To suggest that we had reached definitive conclusions, decades before the world’s experts and while climate science was in an early stage of development, is not credible.”

It’s interesting that Exxon framed its response this way, given that our complaint quite literally quotes statements from the company’s own website acknowledging the opposite: that they had in fact acknowledged the real risks of climate change at least as recently as 2000. Referring to Paragraph 146 of our Complaint:

In April 2016, Suzanne McCarron of ExxonMobil wrote that “[t]he risks of climate change are real and those risks warrant constructive action by policymakers, the business community, and everyone who uses energy.”  She repeated that sentiment in May 2016, stating that “[a]t ExxonMobil, we believe the risks of climate change are real,” and going on to say that “[a]ll told, since 2000, ExxonMobil has spent approximately $7 billion to develop lower-emission energy solutions.”  Most recently, in August 2016, she wrote that “[r]educing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades amounts to one of society’s most important challenges.”

ExxonMobil’s actions also directly contradict its claims to have not yet reached “definitive conclusions” about the risks of climate change. As the Los Angeles Times reported late last year, after its own scientists warned that rising sea-levels brought on by climate change might impact their operations, ExxonMobil went as far as to redesign its natural gas rigs in the North Sea to help fortify them.

The fact that ExxonMobil has known about the ticking time bomb its Everett facility presents and has continued to do nothing to address the dangers demonstrates its propensity to operate solely in its own interests and prioritize its financial bottom line over the safety and well-being of the communities within which it operates.

With our lawsuit we hope to finally hold ExxonMobil accountable for the real-world impacts of its decades-long campaign of deception and for the violations of federal law that continue to put the citizens of New England in harm’s way.


Exxon Blog Reponse
The coordinated attack on ExxonMobil
Published on Exxon’s blog, ExxonMobile Perspectives (April 20, 2016)
Written by Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s VP of Public and Government Affairs

Recent days have seen the publication of a number of news reports that offer an eye-opening look at a campaign of misinformation about ExxonMobil’s history of climate research.

That campaign has led directly to investigations by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and like-minded officials in other jurisdictions.

The stories unfolding over the past week have been reported by The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Free Beacon, Reuters, Energy in Depth, National Review, and others. They tell a tale that is disturbing in what it says about journalism, the law, and our nation’s discussions on the most important public policy issues.

One particularly troubling item that was publicly exposed in recent days provides evidence of a secret meeting in January of environmental activists and plaintiff’s attorneys to coordinate strategy for an assault on ExxonMobil’s reputation.

Leading the list of subjects for discussion was this: “To establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm.”

In taking aim at our corporation, these activists and trial lawyers are attacking nearly 75,000 dedicated men and women who work to provide the sources of energy that are vital to a functioning economy. And they are taking aim at the millions of shareholders who own ExxonMobil stock.

Ultimately, however, the effort to demonize ExxonMobil distracts from what is truly important – providing the energy supplies to power the future while coming up with technological solutions that address the risks posed by climate change.

There’s a meaningful dialogue to be had on climate change, one that focuses on collaborative actions and the search for solutions. We have been in that conversation for several decades. Our critics, on the other hand, want no part of that discussion. Rather, they seek to stifle free speech and limit scientific inquiry while painting a false picture of ExxonMobil.

If they were truly interested in finding realistic answers to the dual challenge of providing energy needed for modern life and protecting the environment, they would welcome debate and open discussion. They would not be trying to exclude and silence the innovation, creativity, and brilliant ideas that thousands of scientists at ExxonMobil and other energy companies have to offer.

 


 

Wall Street Journal Article
Exxon Fires Back at Climate-Change Probe
Published in the Wall Street Journal (April 13, 2016)
Written by Amy Harder, Devlin Barrett and Bradley Olson

Exxon Mobil Corp. went to court Wednesday to challenge a government investigation of whether the company conspired to cover up its understanding of climate change, a sign the energy company is gearing up for a drawn-out legal battle with environmentalists and officials on the politically charged issue.

The company filed court papers in Texas seeking to block a subpoena issued in March by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of several government officials pursuing Exxon. Wednesday’s filing argues that the subpoena is an unwarranted fishing expedition into Exxon’s internal records that violates its constitutional rights.

“The chilling effect of this inquiry, which discriminates based on viewpoint to target one side of an ongoing policy debate, strikes at protected speech at the core of the First Amendment,” the filing says.

Exxon also dismisses the notion that there is any suggestion of a crime, saying Attorney General Claude Earl Walker “issued the subpoena without the reasonable suspicion required by law and based on an ulterior motive to silence those who express views on climate change with which they disagree.”

A request for comment to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ attorney general’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

In the subpoena, the U.S. Virgin Islands told Exxon it could be violating two state laws, by purportedly obtaining money under false pretenses and conspiring to do so.

Both sides see this as a pivotal moment in a growing campaign by environmentalists to deploy a legal strategy used against tobacco companies in the 1990s by arguing that oil companies have long hidden what they know about climate change. Tobacco firms’ finances and credibility were badly damaged by lawsuits accusing them of hiding the truth about their products.

A key meeting in the new push unfolded in January behind the closed doors of a Manhattan office building. The session brought together about a dozen people, including Kenny Bruno, a veteran of environmental campaigns, and Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, two activists who helped lead the successful fight to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

The new campaign’s goals include “to establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm,” according to an agenda of the meeting viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

This new legal strategy stems in part from environmentalists’ frustration at what they see as the inadequacy of recent climate deals. Their hope is to encourage state attorneys general and the U.S. Justice Department to launch investigations and lawsuits that ultimately will change Exxon’s behavior, force it to pay big damages and drive public attention to climate change.

“It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions,” said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which hosted the January meeting. “It’s not really about Exxon.”

Exxon and its supporters dismiss the comparison with tobacco. Cigarettes are a harmful, addictive product used by a portion of the public, they say, while fossil fuels are fundamental to the world economy.

In Wednesday’s filing, Exxon’s lawyers say the company has confirmed for more than a decade that it sees the risks of climate change, and that it has publicly advocated for a carbon tax as the best way to regulate carbon emissions.

A key part of the activists’ strategy is to seek documents that show otherwise: that Exxon, despite knowing the dangers of climate change, has sought to challenge the scientific consensus. Such revelations would help “delegitimize [Exxon] as a political actor,” the January agenda said.

In a twist, the initiative is set to be bankrolled partly by the heirs of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Exxon’s forebear, Standard Oil. The Rockefeller Family Fund has signaled it will help fund the campaign through its existing backing of 350.org, though it hasn’t provided a figure.

Wednesday’s filing is Exxon’s first legal salvo in what could be a long war, since at least four state attorneys general have launched investigations and a dozen others have signaled they might.

None has been as aggressive as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who subpoenaed Exxon in November seeking information about the company’s research on climate change over several decades. Exxon hasn’t challenged that subpoena, partly because a New York law called the Martin Act gives Mr. Schneiderman wide latitude to investigate businesses for possible fraud or misrepresentation.

The new legal theory has yet to gain momentum within the Justice Department, according to officials familiar with internal discussions. But after prodding by lawmakers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a preliminary review.

The issue also has seeped into the political arena. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has called for an investigation of Exxon, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), pressed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the matter at a recent congressional hearing.

The activists are focusing on internal Exxon documents that have surfaced in news outlets—including in publications or investigative projects that were funded partly by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund, which favor strong climate action. The media outlets involved—the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News—have said the reporting was done without influence by the funding sources.

The activists’ biggest challenge may be to establish clear culpability for global warming. Millions of individuals contribute with their use of fossil fuels, while national governments have done little despite knowing the risks, said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former federal environmental crimes prosecutor.

“Exxon should have been far more forthright about the risks associated with climate change, but all of us are culpable for our collective failure to change,” Mr. Uhlmann said. “The likelihood that these investigations will lead to significant damages are small.”

But Sharon Eubanks, who led the tobacco litigation during the Clinton and Bush administrations and attended the January meeting, said she believes a lawsuit by the government against Exxon is viable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. RICO allows the government to pursue civil lawsuits against a people or entities working in concert to violate the law.

 


 

Exxon Op-ed
Despite what divestment activists say, ExxonMobil is searching for climate solutions
Published in the Los Angeles Times (March 14, 2016)
Written by Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s VP of Public and Government Affairs

ExxonMobil recognizes the risks posed by climate change. We believe that everyone — including oil and gas companies — should be engaged in meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on recent media coverage of our company however, you could be forgiven if you found this surprising. A coordinated public relations campaign is under way against ExxonMobil, which is misleading the public by accusing us of hiding what we knew about climate change and working against climate science. Sadly, the Los Angeles Times is one of the leading publications to repeat these accusations, having published an op-ed article recently (among other pieces to have run in the paper) by a Rockefeller heir supporting the divestment campaign against ExxonMobil.

At ExxonMobil, we’re proud of our history of science and technology research, and this includes our work in addressing climate change. Since the 1970s, we have openly and publicly researched and discussed the risks of climate change, carbon life-cycle analysis and emissions reductions. Our work has resulted in nearly 150 publicly available papers, including more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. We have worked alongside other top scientists and participated in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since its inception in 1988, including serving as co-authors for the organization’s climate assessments. We continue to be active, public participants in the scientific community’s search for solutions.

The fact is, in the last decade, ExxonMobil has spent billions of dollars to research and develop new energy technologies, as well as find ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and environmental footprint. We employ 2,200 PhD scientists and engineers, and more than 5,000 people at our global research and technology divisions. And we have joined with more than 80 universities around the world to research lower-emission technologies.

Let me share a few examples of ExxonMobil’s contributions to emissions reduction:

ExxonMobil, and our subsidiary XTO Energy, have been instrumental in the “shale revolution” that has enabled U.S. gas production to rise by close to 45% since 2005. Increased availability of natural gas, which emits up to 60% less carbon dioxide than coal when burned to generate electricity, is a big reason America’s greenhouse gas emissions have declined to levels not seen since the 1990s.

ExxonMobil scientists and engineers have pioneered nearly 300 patents for technologies that boost efficiency and cut emissions. We are actively researching solutions that could play a major role in emissions reduction in the decades to come, such as carbon capture and sequestration, and biofuels developed from advanced sources such as algae.

Advanced plastics made by ExxonMobil’s chemical company are promoting sustainability and reducing energy use. Auto parts built from strong-but-lightweight plastics made using oil and gas will help make cars 80% more fuel-efficient by 2040.

Given all of this, the recent accusations against ExxonMobil make no sense — that is, until you learn that the anti-ExxonMobil campaign, and the supposedly unbiased media reports it rests upon, is in fact funded by groups actively opposed to the use of oil and natural gas. Some of the leaders of this campaign believe the best way to address climate change is to divest oil and gas company shares or to engage in other gestures intended to demonize an industry helping people around the world enjoy access to modern energy sources and rising living standards.

ExxonMobil fundamentally disagrees with that vision.

Our vision is one in which technological innovations continue to improve people’s quality of life around the world while reducing climate change risks.

Government policies have an important role to play in addressing climate risks, provided those policies are effective and fair. Not all of them are. ExxonMobil spoke out against the Kyoto Protocol in the 1990s because, among other things, it would have exempted two-thirds of the world’s emitters. And we opposed ill-conceived cap-and-trade programs in the 2000s, some of which would have exempted coal.

We support efforts by nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When governments are considering policy options, ExxonMobil believes a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the most effective way to manage carbon emissions.

By 2040, the world’s population will have risen to 9 billion and global energy demand will be about 25% higher than it is today. ExxonMobil is confident in mankind’s ability to meet this energy challenge, while also improving efficiency and deploying lower-emitting technologies. In the decades to come, we will continue to advance energy solutions that are affordable, reliable and scalable. And we will continue to support policies that can reduce emissions while enabling continued economic progress.