Apr 19, 2022 News
…despite being among biggest polluters of the world
Kaieteur News – Executives of major oil companies have refused to submit themselves to a United States House oversight panel hearing on climate change, despite them being among some of the world’s largest environmental polluters. The executives have declined the invitation of the Oversight and Reform Committee to answer questions relating to their companies’ climate change pledges and their roles in disseminating disinformation regarding the effects of global warming.
A report from the US Oversight and Reform Committee highlighted that despite letters inviting the executives to the important climate change meetings and possibilities of them being subpoenaed to provide certain information, ‘Big Oil’ executives have refused to take part.
Six of the major oil players have, nonetheless, accepted the invitation of another oversight committee, this time to discuss the high fuel prices in the American market, while rejecting also, another invitation to appear before the House’s Natural Resources panel.
The US Committee has stated, however, that its Chairwoman, Carolyn Maloney, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment, Ro Khanna, had sent letters to the five members of the Boards of Directors of four fossil fuel companies to a hearing held last February and March. To accommodate the executives, the Committee said it had split the hearing dates and was committed to getting a response from the oil majors.
“If these fossil fuel companies were really taking meaningful steps to curb dangerous emissions, their boards of directors would be eager to testify before the Committee when requested, and speak to the American people,” Chairwoman Maloney had said.
“I am disappointed that is not the case. Our hearing next week will feature climate science experts who will tell us exactly what these companies need to do to meet the goals of the Paris (climate change) Agreement. The Big Oil companies should consider the March hearing their last chance to cooperate. If their board members refuse to appear, they should expect further action from this Committee.”
Maloney stated too that, despite attempts to delay, “I look forward to questioning Big Oil board members under oath. It’s no surprise that the Big Oil CEOs denied wrongdoing and refused to stop funding climate disinformation,” said Subcommittee Chairman Khanna.
“But these members are scientists and activists, people that understand the severity of our current situation and have previously called for action. Now, they will face a choice. Will they contradict their CEOs and admit more must be done on climate or will they choose fealty? Their answers will provide a behind the scenes look at the internal discussions occurring at these companies. If the members do not provide them voluntarily, all options are on the table.”
The US Chairs intend to examine the fossil fuel industry’s climate pledges. The Committee said it will be hearing from climate experts on whether these pledges will truly reduce global warming—or instead are simply another effort by oil and gas companies at “greenwashing” their role in climate change. Letters were sent to, among other oil companies, BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron.
Last year, the Oversight and Reform Committee and the Subcommittee on the Environment, said it was holding hearings to examine “the fossil fuel industry’s long-running, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming.”
The Committee Chair had stated that the fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change since at least 1977, yet for decades, the industry has spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products—undermining the science and preventing meaningful action on climate change even as the global climate crisis became increasingly dire, and its deadly impact increased.
A study by members of Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science had shown an over 40-year public relation campaign by, in particular, Exxon to outright deny the seriousness of climate change and delay actions toward addressing the problem. The University members had said that they would be furnishing US officials with the results.
Last May, undercover, Green Peace UK investigators had filmed key US ExxonMobil lobbyist Keith McCoy admitting that Exxon worked with “shadow groups”, and that, among other things, the company fought against science proving climate change.
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