Pressure Builds to Investigate #ExxonKnew

October 31, 2015

Heading into an election year that will be marked by wild weather and record heat.


More than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and social justice groups demanded a federal investigation of Exxon Mobil on Friday, accusing the huge oil and gas company of deceiving the American public about the risks of climate change to protect its profits.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the groups, citing recent news reports, suggested that Exxon Mobil might be guilty of the same kind of fraud that the tobacco companies were found to have perpetrated when they hid the risks of smoking. Those violations ultimately cost the companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties.

The call for an investigation echoes demands made in recent days by three Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and by several Democrats in Congress.

Exxon Mobil rejected the comparison to the tobacco industry, declaring that it had helped to finance accurate scientific research about climate change and that it had made its research public from the 1970s to the present.

“There is a definite risk from climate change,” the company’s vice president for public affairs, Kenneth P. Cohen, said on Friday in an interview. “We have an unbroken record of participation in significant and serious scientific inquiry into this problem.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department, Wyn Hornbuckle, said the department was reviewing the letter from the advocacy groups, but had no additional comment on it.


6 Responses to “Pressure Builds to Investigate #ExxonKnew”

  1. This is fraud at an astronomical scale – about Billion times worse than VW.

    Exxon Mobil needs to be broken up, and so does BP. Shell is responsible for a huge number of spills in places like Nigeria.

    • No condemnation of the EPA for its blatant Colorado minewater spill, of course.

      But man! The AGW movement seems totally bent on political suicide. Knowing what I know of the collective history of the smear of skeptic climate scientists, its origins and the people surrounding it and the sheer lack of evidence proving those guys were paid to lie, here’s what this latest NYT article looks like to me:

      Visualize a roadway, with skidmarks veering off it, through the gravel and right to the edge of a cliff, leading to a car far out in mid air, full of enviro-activists and NYT / Inside Climate News writers, pedal to the metal and so jubilant on the forward progress they are making…..


      • dumboldguy Says:

        Here’s the Whore for Heartland, Russell Cook, earning his whore’s dollar by trying to distract and deflect us with Merchants of Doom type bullshit about Exxon Mobil. He is attempting to muddy the waters and sow FUD, but all he is doing is putting nails in his own coffin—-the coffin that will contain HIS body as HE commits the suicide HE seems so bent on. It’s a shame that he apparently has no other way to make a living beyond his whoring for the fossil fuel interests. There is no honor among the deniers, and Russell will be buried in an unmarked grave.

        We’re keeping track of all your lies, Russell, and when the RICO prosecutions start, I will be personally taking a box of materials down to the Justice Department documenting your sins—it’s only a 30 mile drive for me.

        In actuality, this comment looks rather hurried and more like a “throwaway” than Russell’s usual efforts. The best Russall can fire back about the worldwide and decades-long Exxon Mobil Crimes against Humanity is “EPA and blatant Colorado mine water spill”? LMAO!!!!

        The rats must be scurrying on the sinking ship of AGW denial, and don’t have the time anymore to polish their bullshit. Russell DID find the time to again hack into WordPress and give himself two thumbs up for this comment, though. Remember, he DOES know how to do that and has no qualms about doing it (or saying that Peter Sinclair is giving him a thumbs up).


  2. … Hmmm, and if XOM were found guilty, perhaps the settlement could involve picking over the cadaver of the corporation to get funds to help reduce the damage from their faulty product.

  3. I am of course far more concerned with how in their front group propaganda campaigns against climate science they knew was valid Exxon mislead the American public and distorted public policy to protect their bottom line. And there my be points here where they violated the actual letter of the law. However, here is one area where their violation of the law is fairly clear:

    Exxon executive knew climate change posed an existing threat to the oil business, yet in all the company’s annual reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), they failed to mention this information to investors as a “material risk” as required by the SEC. This, some critics say is blatantly illegal.

    Exxon has known about fossil fuels and climate change since 1970s, by Karen Graham, 7 Oct 2015, Digital Journal

  4. What we need is civil RICO, which involves no threat of anyone going to jail, but may involve compensatory and punitive damages. We should demand that Exxon to make available all documents regarding what they knew about fossil fuel emissions causing global warming and when they knew it. We should demand that they make available all documents regarding the front groups and propaganda campaigns that they funded. Then as part of the conspiracy, we can investigate the front groups and to the extent that there is overlap, the other members of the fossil fuel industry that financed them. In exchange for being entirely forthcoming, individuals and organizations that were involved should be granted legal protection against damages.

    However, the information that they make publicly available (for however long they draw out the process) should be used to mount a campaign for a revenue neutral carbon tax that ramps up over time. To the extent that we are able to make common the knowledge that Exxon knew and yet financed a campaign of denial, the climate denial movement loses all pretense to legitimacy.

    While most people in the United States realize global warming is taking place, most are still of the view that the cause of global warming is primarily something other than our greenhouse gas emissions – or at least that it is a serious issue. Among the general public, more people believe that either global warming isn’t taking place (6%), global warming is due to natural cycles (16%) or the human contribution to global warming is small (28%) than realize we are a major contributor to the climate change that has been taking place (45%). (Please see the Clearpath survey Republicans, Clean Energy,
    and Climate Change
    conducted August 24-27, 2015.)

    In contrast, given that according to our best estimates, the sum of all other forcings since mid 20th century have been either nearly neutral or slightly negative, resulting in a negligible warming to slight cooling, greenhouse gas emissions may properly be regarded as responsible for roughly all of the warming that has taken place. Following through with a RICO investigation of Exxon, what they knew and what they financed, we can transform public understanding, making unstoppable the creation of a revenue neutral carbon tax, the one tool that can most rapidly reduce carbon emissions at a national and international level.

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