Leaders of major oil companies will make a historic appearance before Congress on Thursday, answering the accusations that their company has been lying about the climate crisis for years.
For the first time, top executives of ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the United States, Shell, Chevron and BP will be questioned under oath. Industry long campaign To hurt and deny evidence that fossil fuel burning caused global warming.
Ro Khanna, a key critic of the oil industry behind hearings by the House Oversight Committee, said executive testimony 1994 Parliamentary Hearing The head of a major tobacco company faced the question of whether he knew that nicotine was addictive.
They denied it, and the lie opened the door to years of proceedings, resulting in a $ 206 billion settlement against tobacco makers.
Kanna told the Guardian that the oil company chief was facing a similar moment of calculation.
“They have a very tricky balance. They have to admit certain cheating or risk lying under an oath. If I were them, I would take a more Mare Carpa approach. , They will admit that they were wrong, “he said.
“It will be a turning point for them. It may be a big cigarette moment. There has never been a situation where oil giant executives had to pledge their actions and answer.”
Kanna said she wanted Americans to remove the message from hearings that oil companies “knew they were lying” about climate emergencies.
The CEOs who chose to testify in the video are Darren Woods of Exxon, David Roller of BP American, and Michael Wirth. Chevron Gretchen Watkins, President of Shell.
Leaders of two powerful lobby groups accused of acting as Big oil front organization, The American Petroleum Institute and the United States Chamber of Commerce also testify.
Mr Kanna said oil chiefs would face evidence of sustained and coordinated concealment, including previously unpublished documents.
“The document confirms false information and deception that they have been explicitly involved in the past and confirms that they continue to be involved through third parties,” he said. “The records are so clear that if they refuse to record, they run the risk of harming themselves.”
But hearings also test whether oil industry critics can back them up. Vast conspiracy claims Accusations to prevent fossil fuel companies from responding to climate emergencies – dozens of proceedings by US states, local governments and private organizations have also been accused.
A researcher in the Faculty of Science and History at Harvard University Breakthrough research In Exxon’s communication on the climate crisis, oil executives said they were well practiced to avoid liability.
“This will be a rewarding hearing. This is a situation where historical records are indisputable, but climate change denial machines have been vast, oil-rich and well-funded for decades. It was like a rich network, “he said. “Given the involvement of different actors and tactics, it’s difficult to ask the right questions at the right time and pin the right documents to the corners with your fingertips.”
The hearing followed growing evidence that the oil industry had recognized and obscured the growing threat of burning fossil fuels for decades. This includes a number of exon documents held at the University of Texas and discovered by the Columbia Journalism School and the Los Angeles Times in 2015.
In 1979, a study by Exxon’s own scientists concluded that burning fossil fuels would “cause dramatic environmental impacts” in the coming decades. It called this problem “big and urgent.”
Exxon’s response to a similar warning was to stop research on global warming, conduct public relations attacks to disparage climate science as just a theory, and shift responsibility to consumers.
2019, Martin HofertAt a parliamentary hearing, a professor of physics at the University of New York, Exxon’s climate modeling in the 1980s showed that fossil fuel burning “is increasingly affecting the Earth’s climate.”
Meanwhile, the company was pushing another story.
“Exxon publicly advertised the view that his scientists knew what was wrong. We knew it because we are the main group working on this. This is immoral and has significantly reduced efforts to address climate change, “said Hoffert.
Other oil companies, along with industry groups and think tanks that have funded the denial of climate science, are facing similar accusations.
This story is published as part of Now cover the climate, Global collaboration of media outlets to enhance coverage of climate stories
Oil executives are facing a US Congressional hearing on a “turning point” on the climate crisis.US Congress
Source link Oil executives are facing a US Congressional hearing on a “turning point” on the climate crisis.US Congress