Judge Orders Exxon to Turn Over Documents on Climate Change to Mass AG
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has won the right to investigate Exxon Mobil thanks to a ruling in Superior Court.
The presiding judge ordered the oil and gas giant to turn over documents concerning climate change research spanning 4 decades.
Healey maintains that Exxon has known about their company’s contribution to climate change and intentionally hid that information from the public.
The AG explained: “Exxon must now end its obstructive tactics and come clean about whether it misled Massachusetts consumers and investors about what it knew about climate change, its causes and effects.”
And because of these facts, Healey began an official probe into Exxon back in 2016; working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to figure out how Exxon “intentionally worked to sow doubt among the public.”
Coincidentally, Rex Tillerson, the president elect’s pick for Secretary of State and former CEO of Exxon Mobil, refused to answer questions about his company’s prior knowledge of climate change and the effects Exxon has had on this phenomenon.
TIllerson dodged the inquiries by saying: “Since I’m no longer with Exxon Mobil, I can’t speak on their behalf. The question would have to be put to Exxon Mobil.”
Senator Tim Kaine replied: “Do you lack knowledge to answer my questions or are you refusing to answer my question?”
Tillerson answered with an enigmatic retort: “A little of both.”
What Tillerson is refusing to publicly acknowledge is that an email from an ExxonMobil climate expert published in 2015 showed that the corporation knew the connection between their industry and climate change back in 1981, and spent nearly 30 years lobbying against it and promoting climate change denial.
This email explains how ExxonMobil devised a way to fight against carbon taxes because the idea would hurt their profit margin.
Lenny Bernstein, chemical engineer and former in-house expert of climate change for ExxonMobil, wrote: “Exxon first got interested in climate change in 1981 because it was seeking to develop the Natuna gas field off Indonesia. This is an immense reserve of natural gas, but it is 70% CO2,” or carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.”
Bernstein stated in emails that when ExxonMobil considered the “carbon Bomb” the development of the south-east Asian gas field would become, they ignored the potentials and pressed forward with production.
Publicly, ExxonMobil took the position of climate denial, regardless of its founding “family” insistence that climate change is real. Instead, ExxonMobil began financing climate denying scientists, researchers and think tanks to the tune of $30 million .
Previous investigations into Wei-Hock Soon, astrophysicist for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center (HSC), being paid by oil and gas corporations including ExxonMobil for climate denial science has recently come to light.
Soon’s work has been the cornerstone of climate denial by Senator Jim Inofe, the man who threw a snowball onto the senate floor claiming to have disproved global warming.
The non-climate scientist and favorite denier of oil corporations has received an estimated $1.2 million from industry giants such as:
• Koch Charitable Foundation
• American Petroleum
• ExxonMobil Foundation
• Texaco Foundation
• American Petroleum Institute
In addition, last year Congressman Lamar Smith, an avid climate denier, launched an investigation into NOAA’s 2015 study because he felt “it was pushed out to bolster President Barack Obama’s political agenda.”
The congressman is vehemently against the theory of global warming and has accused NOAA employees and “political operatives” of “likely play[ing] a large role in approving NOAA’s decision to adjust data that allegedly refutes the hiatus in warming.”
Smith explained that his investigation was an answer to American’s frustration at “research conducted behind closed doors where they only see cherry-picked conclusions, not the facts.”
Smith continued: “This letter shows that hundreds of respected scientists and experts agree that NOAA’s efforts to alter historical temperature data deserve serious scrutiny.”
The letter stated: “In our opinion… NOAA has failed to observe the OMB [Office of Management and Budget] (and its own) guidelines, established in relation to the Data Quality Act.”
Congressman Smith is heavily funded by industries that benefit from the climate change denial camp. According to 2015 – 2016 donation data, Smith received the majority of his cash:
• $28,900 from oil and gas corporations
• $26,100 from the automotive industry
One of Smith’s biggest donors is Exxon Mobil because he is an avid climate denier. In fact, Smith was among of 89 House representatives who received $544,000 in lobby contributions which is equal to 40% of the $1.6 billion the oil giant spent in 2015 in campaign donations to Republican lawmakers.
Last year Lamar wrote an op-ed piece accusing the “climate change religion” of being behind the push for mitigation efforts at the expense of the energy industry.
Lamar is responsible for several proposals to deregulate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and loosen mandates ensuring public health and other environmental protections. In addition, these bills “obstruct the EPA and other federal agencies from enacting science-based rules.”
FactCheck.org debunked Lamar’s claims for being “riddled with false claims”.