Oil groups accused of climate deceit in US Congress grilling

High US oil executives have been accused of decades-long trade efforts to unfold disinformation over the position of fossil fuels in driving world warming throughout congressional hearings held on Thursday, days earlier than pivotal UN local weather talks.

Democratic legislators slammed the chief executives of American supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron alongside the US heads of Royal Dutch Shell and BP for deceptive the general public over the businesses’ contributions to climate change in a grilling that marked the start of a year-long investigation into the matter.

“For much too lengthy, Huge Oil has escaped accountability for its central position in bringing our planet to the brink of a local weather disaster. That ends right now,” stated Carolyn Maloney, a New York congresswoman and chair of the Home of Representatives oversight and reform committee.

The hearings marked the primary time a bunch of senior executives from the nation’s greatest oil teams had appeared collectively earlier than Congress, albeit remotely, to testify over the roles of their corporations in inflicting local weather change. They have been joined by the heads of foyer teams the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Democrats stated the trade had expanded fossil gas manufacturing regardless of being conscious of the position of emissions in heating the planet way back to the Seventies. They drew parallels with 1994 hearings during which cigarette trade executives appeared earlier than Congress and denied nicotine was addictive, triggering a wider shift in public opinion in opposition to Huge Tobacco.

Maloney stated that Exxon scientists had instructed executives within the Seventies and ’80s that burning fossil gas was altering the local weather. As an alternative of responding by transitioning to cleaner power sources, “Huge Oil doubled down on fossil fuels”, she stated.

“Working with the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce and different entrance teams and [public relations] companies, the trade ran a co-ordinated marketing campaign to mislead the general public, disguise the hazards of its personal product and derail world efforts to cut back greenhouse-gas emissions,” the Democratic congresswoman stated.

The trade executives denied any effort to deceive the general public and pointed to the position performed by fossil fuels in financial progress and the trade’s investments in applied sciences resembling carbon seize, hydrogen and biofuels.

“Some have sought to painting ExxonMobil’s coverage positions as local weather denialism and have baselessly claimed that ExxonMobil withheld info or unfold disinformation about local weather change. Neither cost is true,” chief govt Darren Woods instructed the committee.

Gretchen Watkins, president of Shell’s US division, stated offering dependable sources of power whereas tackling local weather change was “one of many defining challenges of our time”, however underlined the significance of fossil fuels within the trendy financial system.

“Gasoline is required to energy vans, airplanes and ships that transfer individuals across the globe. Petrochemicals are wanted for every little thing from clothes to cell telephones,” she stated.

The hearings laid naked the partisan cut up over local weather change in Congress, with Republican members questioning the motivations of Democrats in holding the hearings and seizing on the chance to slam Joe Biden for rising gas costs.

“I’ve considerations about right now’s listening to and the legitimacy of Democrats’ so-called investigation of America’s oil and fuel corporations,” stated James Comer, a Kentucky consultant and Republican rating member of the committee. “When are we going to carry a listening to with a Biden administration member so we are able to maintain the federal authorities accountable?”

The position of fossil fuels in contributing to greenhouse fuel emissions has been introduced into focus forward of the UN COP26 local weather summit, which begins in Glasgow subsequent week.

Democratic lawmakers homed in on the disparity between US and European majors’ of their methods to chop emissions. California consultant Ro Khanna pressed Woods and Chevron chief Mike Wirth over their corporations’ plans to extend output whereas their European counterparts sought to chop output.

That prompted an offended retort from Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, who stated calling on American oil and fuel corporations to cut back manufacturing whereas the president was calling on members of the Opec+ cartel to pump more oil to be able to decrease costs “often is the dumbest factor I’ve ever heard”.

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