Two representatives assert that ExxonMobil lied about climate change data in the same way cigarette companies hid the real hazards associated with smoking, and they are now threatening a federal investigation.
The two members of Congress wrote to Loretta Lynch, the attorney general, on Wednesday, saying they were concerned by the results of two separate investigations by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times, which found that ExxonMobil scientists confirmed fossil fuels were causing climate change decades ago, but publicly embarked on a campaign of denial.
“ExxonMobil’s apparent behavior is similar to cigarette companies that repeatedly denied harm from tobacco and spread uncertainty and misinformation to the public,” Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier, both Democratic members of Congress from California, wrote. “We ask that the DoJ similarly investigate Exxon for organizing a sustained deception campaign disputing climate science and failing to disclose truthful information to investors and the public.”
They asked the Department of Justice to look into a number of statutes concerning Exxon’s actions, including truth in advertising and racketeering laws.
According to these representatives, ExxonMobile officals “hid” the knowledge that carbon dioxide causes climate change for over 27 years. Why? Because they had the temerity to do their own research, and use that data to try and get a competitive edge.
The gulf between Exxon’s internal and external approach to climate change from the 1980s through the early 2000s was evident in a review of hundreds of internal documents, decades of peer-reviewed published material and dozens of interviews conducted by Columbia University’s Energy & Environmental Reporting Project and the Los Angeles Times.
Documents were obtained from the Imperial Oil collection at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum and the Exxon Mobil Historical Collection at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History.
“We considered climate change in a number of operational and planning issues,” said Brian Flannery, who was Exxon’s in-house climate science advisor from 1980 to 2011. In a recent interview, he described the company’s internal effort to study the effects of global warming as a competitive necessity: “If you don’t do it, and your competitors do, you’re at a loss.”
The comparison between cigarette manufacturers and ExxonMobile is egregious. There is a big difference between the what the cigarette companies did, and the health consequences impacting unwarned Americans who were exposed to carcinogens, and what ExxonMobil did, which was to initiate its own research on a compound that has an extremely beneficial and necessary presence in our environment.
However, Lie (a Los Angeles representative) and DeSaulnier (from Contra Cost) are in Democratic Party “safe seats”, so they don’t have to worry about the adverse impact their inanity will have on issues important to their citizens (i.e., jobs and energy costs). They can safely carry the banner of eco-activism.
Interestingly, one of the most recent corporate decisions caused a great deal of progressive outrage: The company refused to add a climate change expert on the board of directors. When asked about the decision, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson responded:
We chose not to lose money on purpose.
The targeting of ExxonMobil is part of a new trend aimed at silencing those opposed to today’s climate change theology.
Lord Monckton, one of the leading scientists battling against the “settled science”, has just submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to determine how the U.K. Supreme Court has ruled to support climate change activism in specific legal cases before it. The 20-part request is quite sweeping in its scope and names a specific liberal activist (Philippe Sands QC) who may have exerted inappropriate influence of a judge (Robert Carnwath, Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill).
In France, the nation’s top weatherman was forced to take a “vacation” after publishing a book accusing the top climatologists of taking the world hostage. French citizens, unhappy with the suspension of the popular weather analyst, are petitioning to have him returned to his job.
As a climate change skeptic, I suppose I should be grateful that they aren’t burning us heretics at the stake…but then that would release carbon dioxide. I can only hope that the case against ExxonMobil goes up in smoke and our representatives begin to pay attention to true global security threats.DONATE
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