ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods testified at a historic House hearing. He stated that ExxonMobil has "long acknowledged the reality of climate change and has devoted substantial resources to addressing these risks."
Woods stated that the oil giant's statements about climate are "truthful, fact-based,... and consistent" in line with mainstream climate science.
Woods was one of four top oil company officials who testified Thursday before Congress Democrats. They are investigating a decades-long industry-wide campaign to disinformation the public about the role of fossil fuels and global warming.
After months of public efforts by Democrats, the House Oversight Committee is now ready to hold the much-anticipated hearing. It comes after the House Oversight Committee has received documents and other information about the role of the oil industry in preventing climate action over many decades. There are comparisons between the appearance of the four executives from ExxonMobil and Chevron, BP America, Shell, and a high-profile hearing that took place in 1990 with tobacco executives, who famously said they didn't believe nicotine is addictive.
"The dangers of climate changes have been known scientifically since 1977, when the fossil fuel industry was founded. However, for decades the industry has spread doubt and denial about the dangers of its products, undermining science and preventing meaningful actions on climate change,'' stated Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.
"Big Oil has been largely unaccountable for its role in bringing the planet to the brink a climate disaster for far too long." This is over," Maloney, who chairs Oversight's panel, said.
Khanna, who heads a subcommittee for the environment, said that "this hearing is only the beginning of our investigation." These companies must be held responsible."
The committee issued a memo on Thursday claiming that public support for climate change reforms by the oil industry was not matched with meaningful actions and that billions of dollars have been spent to block them. Oil companies often boast about their efforts in producing clean energy through advertisements and social media posts that include videos and photos of wind turbines.
Maloney stated that "Today's staff memo reveals Big Oil's campaign for 'greenwashing' their role in climate crisis in action." "These oil companies give lip service to climate reforms but spend far more time lobbying for their lucrative tax breaks."
Exxon's former Washington-based lobbyist Keith McCoy dismissed Exxon's support for a carbon tax on fossil fuel emissions. He called it a "talking point".
The comments of McCoy were made public by Greenpeace UK in June. They secretly recorded McCoy and another lobbyist during Zoom interviews. Exxon spokesperson last month said that McCoy is no longer employed by the company.
Exxon's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Woods, condemned McCoys comments and stated that the company stands behind its commitment to working on climate change solutions.
Woods was joined by Michael Wirth, Chevron CEO and BP America CEO David Lawler, and Shell president Gretchen Watkins.
Wirth stated that any suggestion that Chevron tried to mislead the public about these complex issues or spread disinformation is false.
Khanna and Maloney strongly disagree with that statement. They contrasted the tactics of the oil industry with those used long ago by the tobacco industry in resisting regulation, "while selling products which kill hundreds of thousands of Americans."
Khanna advised oil executives to "Spare Us the Spin." "Spin doesn't work under oath.''
James Comer, the Kentucky Representative, was the top Republican on Oversight's panel. He called the hearing "a distraction from the crises the Biden administration has caused for the American people'', including higher gasoline prices.
"The purpose is clear: To deliver partisan theatre for primetime news," Comer stated.