Democrats investigate oil giants over misleading climate claims | New
House Democrats are investigating the role the big oil companies and their trading groups may have played in misleading the public about the role of fossil fuels in global warming.
Letters sent Thursday to executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc, Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, American Petroleum Institute and the United States Chamber of Commerce requesting information on any role that they could have played in what Democrats are calling an “long-running, industry-wide campaign” of climate disinformation, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The panel is scheduled for an Oct. 28 hearing on the effort and is seeking testimony from senior executives at those companies.
“We are deeply concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped huge profits for decades while contributing to climate change that is devastating American communities, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and ravaging the natural world,” said declared the letters. “We are also concerned that to protect these profits, the industry has reportedly conducted a coordinated effort to disseminate disinformation in order to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to combat climate change.”
The letters were sent by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chair of the Committee, and Representative Ro Khanna, who heads the Environment Sub-Committee.
“API welcomes the opportunity to testify again before the House Oversight Committee and advance our priorities of carbon pricing, methane regulation and reliable US power generation,” said Bethany Aronhalt, spokesperson. of the Washington-based trade group.
The Chamber of Commerce said it is considering the committee’s request.
“The committee leadership has a fundamental misunderstanding of the US Chamber of Commerce’s positions on climate change and our work to forge climate solutions,” a spokesperson for the trade group said. âThe Chamber believes that the climate is changing, that humans are contributing to these changes and that inaction on climate is not an option. We know that sustainable policy is made through bipartisan action, so we have been working hard with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to pass climate solutions, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill which includes historic investments in sustainable infrastructure. “
In a statement, BP said it received the letter and that “the company’s ambition is to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner and help the world get there.”
“We are actively advocating for policies such as carbon pricing and methane regulation, which will support the energy transition, the Paris climate agreement and a net zero world,” the statement said.
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said the company had received the letter and would “respond to staff.”
Shell said it is reviewing the request and will answer questions from the committee. “Shell strongly supports the Paris Agreement and the need for society to move to a low carbon future, while extending the economic and social benefits of access to energy to all,” the company said. in a press release.
Chevron did not respond to requests for comment.
Papers sought include papers from business leaders on climate science, climate change, clean energy and the role of fossil fuels in climate change. They are also looking for documents regarding the influence of public opinion and communications with the government and the White House.
The committee is also researching documents and communications regarding the funding companies provided to Washington business groups and how that money was used. In addition, the letters ask for details of any projects companies have undertaken to protect their facilities from climate change.
The inquiry comes as reports raise questions about the role of the oil industry and its allies in preventing actions against global warming by casting doubt on the dangers of fossil fuels, according to the committee.
An Exxon lobbyist was secretly registered earlier this year by Greenpeace, saying the company fought early efforts to tackle climate change by joining “ghost groups” and that the oil giant had not expressed support to a carbon tax only because he knew that such a policy would be almost impossible. to implement. Company CEO Darren Woods then apologized.
“As worsening global warming-related natural disasters devastate communities in the United States and around the world, one of Congress’ top legislative priorities is to address the increasingly urgent climate change crisis,” wrote the committee. âTo do this, Congress must tackle pollution caused by the fossil fuel industry and curb the troubling business practices that lead to misinformation on these issues. “