It's official, #BigOilKnew about climate change in the 1980s. It matters because their chief lobby group, The American Petroleum Institute, has testified otherwise to congress dozens of times since then, and that's a crime. Sign and share this action to tell Chairman Inhofe to haul Big Oil in for questioning.
I know you've heard about the climate cover-up scheme conducted by Exxon.1 What's new this week is that an oil industry lobby group called the American Petroleum Institute (API) also knew about climate change in the 1980s, and proceeded to launch a campaign of denial and doubt.2
This is significant because API testifies regularly before Congress, including to the Senate Environment Committee.3 When they do, they're required to present honest testimony much like they would in a court room -- willfully misleading Congress (for example, by telling them climate change isn't real when you know better) is against the law.4
That's where our old friend Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) comes in. As the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee he's heard testimony from API for years that climate change isn't a real, urgent threat -- when in fact we know their own scientists reported the seriousness of the problem in 1980.2 Combined with the investigations by New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California's Kamala Harris,5 this is the perfect time for Congress to investigate Exxon for contempt of Congress. Click here to tell James Inhofe he should be holding hearings on Exxon and climate change, not snowballs.
Inhofe has long maintained that global warming is a "hoax" perpetrated on society by a few activist scientists. He has used research and talking points funded by API to back up his claims for years. So, how do you suppose he will feel now that leaked API reports from 1982 show its knowledge of global warming predated its campaign to sow doubt?
It's clear Exxon and API are not going to cop to the truth all on their own. Just this week Exxon rejected a shareholder resolution ordering the company to assert moral leadership on climate change. In a statement, the company said it’s unnecessary for shareholders to consider the proposal at the annual meeting because climate change isn't that big a deal, and they're taking steps to address it in their current business model.6
Schneiderman and Harris will get to decide if that statement constitutes misleading investors. But only Senator Inhofe can haul in Exxon and API for the equally serious crime of lying to congress. Click here to demand Inhofe hold a Congressional hearing into Big Oil's climate cover-up.
Thanks for demanding Exxon and API answer for what they knew,
Drew and the #BigOilKnew crew at Environmental Action
1. Banerjee, Neela, Song, Lisa and Hasemyer, David. Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago. Inside Climate News. September 16, 2015.
2. Banerjee, Neela, Oil Industry Group's Own Report Shows Early Knowledge of Climate Impacts , Inside Climate News, February 5, 2016
3. API website, Testimony and Speeches, 2015
4. Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, Contempt of Congress Definition,
5. Mark Hertsgaard, Did ExxonMobil Lie to Investors About Climate Change?, The Nation, February 4, 2016
Schwartz, John. California Said to Target Exxon in Climate Inquiry. The New York Times. January 20, 2016.
Goldenberg, Suzanne. ExxonMobil Under Investigation Over Claims it Lied About Climate Change Risks. The Guardian. November 5, 2015.
6. David Hasemyer, Exxon Stiff-Arms a Request to Take Moral Responsibility for Climate Change, Inside Climate News, February 3, 2016