A US House of Representatives committee has found some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies have internally dismissed the need to swiftly move to renewable energy and cut planet-heating emissions, despite publicly portraying themselves as concerned about the climate crisis.
Documents obtained from companies including Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron show that the fossil fuel industry “has no real plans to clean up its act and is barreling ahead with plans to pump more dirty fuels for decades to come”, said Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House oversight committee. Documents obtained from companies including Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron show that the fossil fuel industry “has no real plans to clean up its act and is barreling ahead with plans to pump more dirty fuels for decades to come”, said Carolyn Maloney, the chair of the House oversight committee.
In reality, executives, the documents show, were derisive of the need to cut emissions, disparaged climate activists and worked to secure US government tax credits for carbon capture projects that would allow them to continue business as usual.
Maloney said that “these companies know their climate pledges are inadequate, but are prioritizing big oil’s record profits over the human costs of climate change.”
Ro Khanna, who sits on the committee, said that the industry’s approach was one of “intimidation” towards critics, as part of a “cynical strategy” to avoid acting on the climate emergency. He added that the committee will pass on the documents to “other entities”, raising the possibility of charges laid by the US Department of Justice.
Khanna rejected allegations that the committee had engaged in a sort of corporate witch-hunt. “The industry was the one out there continuing to make false statements about climate change and climate legislation,” he said. “Our goal is to get them to stop engaging in climate misinformation.”
Climate campaigners said the committee’s work showed that the fossil fuel industry was continuing to lie over global heating by pretending to act on the issue.
“The key revelation in this report is that big oil has no intention of actually following through on its climate commitments,” said Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media. “It isn’t transitioning to clean energy, it’s doubling down on methane gas, and it’s actively lobbying against renewable energy solutions. This is the big tobacco playbook all over again: pretend you care about a problem, but continue your deadly business as usual.”