Exxon's lobbyist had accidentally revealed how the oil company uses its political muscle to undercut climate action.
Keith McCoy, the Exxon lobbyist, said that the company aggressively fought against some of the science. McCoy said this during a covertly filmed job interview that was recorded by Greenpeace's UK investigative platform.
McCoy added that the company did join some shadow groups to work against some of the efforts against climate change, pointing out that there is nothing illegal about what they did. He also said that the company is just looking out for their investors and their shareholders.
The video was published on June 30 by UK's Channel 4, and it immediately drew criticism from the public and climate change advocates.
Exxon is in Hot Water for Anti-Climate Practices
One example that climate change advocates pointed out was when Exxon stated that it is in favor of a tax on carbon even though its lobbyist doubts it will ever happen because it would take political courage to do that.
CEO Denies to McCoy's Statements
The report from Channel 4 did not allege Exxon did anything illegal. A lot of corporations use campaign donations to shape the laws in their favor.
Darren Woods, the CEO of Exxon, responded to the video by posting a statement on ExxonMobil's site. He said that what McCoy said does not represent the company's position on climate policy and its commitment to carbon pricing.
Woods said in a statement that Exxon condemns everything that McCoy said in the video. Exxon has since apologized for McCoy's remarks, including his comments about interacting with elected officials.
Woods said that they were surprised when they saw the interview and insists that they stand by their commitments to working on finding solutions to climate change.
Despite Woods' denial, the video still shows McCoy suggesting that he is involved in Exxon's efforts to influence lawmakers. The Exxon lobbyist even compared the campaign to fishing, where the company tries to "reel them in."
McCoy identified 11 US senators that are important to Exxon, specifically Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia. McCoy said he talks to Manchin's office every week and even called him the "kingmaker."
McCoy said that Manchin is not shy to stake his claim and is willing to campaign against climate change law on the Senate floor in favor of shareholders and investors. Manchin's office did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
The Exxon Backlash
Lindsay Meiman, the US communications manager at climate group 350.org, stated that the Exxon video shows how the company's climate lies have started from outright denial to "puppeteering the government and economy."
The videos are the latest hit to Exxon's reputation as pressure builds up on Wall Street and Washington to address the alarming climate crisis.
In 2020, Exxon was removed from the exclusive Dow Jones Industrial Average after years of disappointing performance.
Recently, three directors that were backed by Exxon were removed from the company's board after a battle with an activist hedge fund that criticized the company's climate change stance.
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Written by Sophie Webster