Author: Mike Tidwell         Published: 10/24/19               CCAN Action Fund

Watch the Exxon takedown. Thank Congressman Jamie Raskin

They knew. They lied. They’re still lying.

Dear: Ronald

That would be ExxonMobil Corporation, of course. Their scientists knew the horrors of impending climate change back in the 70s. The company then lied about it for decades. And they’re still lying.

But today, Congressmembers Jamie Raskin of Maryland (D) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York (D) began uncovering those lies. As Chair and Vice Chair of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, they gaveled into order the first-ever congressional hearing focused entirely on the massive climate deception of Exxon and the other oil majors.

The hearing featured two former Exxon scientists, a Harvard professor, and environmental justice activist Mustafa Ali. Who did the opponents send? A hardcore climate denier best known for handing Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) the snowball he famously brought to the Senate floor in 2015 to “prove” global warming isn’t happening.1

What actual proof surfaced in the hearing? Internal Exxon memos from the 1970s showing that carbon emissions from oil combustion could “indeed be catastrophic” for the planet. So precise was Exxon’s science in 1982 that it predicted with stunning accuracy that a world without strong pollution controls would reach 415 parts per million carbon in the atmosphere by…2019.2 They were exactly right. And the consequences they predicted in the 70s and 80s are here today: rising oceans, killer storms, crushing droughts.

Thankfully your Congressman, Rep. Raskin, was on the case today. Take a moment to thank him for taking on our biggest carbon criminals of all time. Thank them for standing up for future generations.

In the 90s, dozens of states filed lawsuits against the tobacco industry for similarly lying about the health risks of smoking. The premise was simple: Big Tobacco caused the smoking health crisis — now, they should pay for it. As a result, tobacco companies had to pay billions of dollars for possible Food and Drug Administration regulations, stronger warning labels, and more.3

Raskin and his Vice-Chair, AOC, understand that Congress can never pass a strong Green New Deal bill to fight climate change as long as ExxonMobil and other oil majors maintain their political headlock on Capitol Hill.

Again, like Big Tobacco, we have to expose them and eventually force their executives to confess under oath that they have risked the entire planet for their short-term greed. Then the lying influence of these companies will be gone, and the path to a cleaner future will be clear.

They knew. They lied. And they’re still lying.

Yes, it came out at the hearing that Exxon to this day is STILL lying to the public. The company officially claims to support the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016 to significantly reduce carbon emissions worldwide. At the same time, published media accounts produced at the hearing show the company is predicting a 30 percent increase in its oil production by 2030. Both of these things cannot be true. You cannot support Paris and dramatically increase oil production. Exxon is lying to the public. Still.

But with your help, we won’t let them get away with it. Thank Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Let them know you are with them as they push for truth and reconciliation on our way to a safer, life-giving climate for all people. And if you want to watch Rep. Ocasio-Cortez at work, watch this video too. 

And here’s one more thing you can do: Sign the global petition calling on our leaders to hold polluters like Exxon accountable for climate change. 

On we go,

Mike Tidwell
Executive Director
Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund

Entire hearing available to watch here: