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Oil company leaders testify on climate change in front of House committee

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Oil company leaders at ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron and Shell testified on climate change in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Thursday. Their testimony, shown in the video above, was in response to allegations the oil industry concealed evidence about the dangers of climate change.

Thursday’s hearing came after months of public efforts by Democrats to obtain documents and other information on the industry’s role in stopping climate action over multiple decades. Democrats say the fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change since at least 1977, yet spread disinformation regarding the harm the industry’s products cause.

“For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe,” committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said Thursday. “That ends today. Big Oil has known the truth about climate change for decades.”

Oil company leaders denied those allegations at the hearing.

“ExxonMobil has been engaged in policy discussions related to the energy environment for years,” ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods said. “We’ve been vocal and transparent in our support for governments to implement policies that are cost effective and achieve the greatest emission reductions at the lowest overall cost to society.”

“At Chevron, we’ve been very clear about where we stand. We accept the scientific consensus. Climate change is real and the use of fossil fuels contributes to it,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth added. “While our views on climate change have developed over time, any suggestion that Chevron is engaged in an effort to spread disinformation and mislead the public on these complex issues is simply wrong.”

While the oil company leaders agreed with Maloney on the existence and threat posed by climate change, they refused her request to pledge that their companies would not spend money to oppose efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. BP America CEO David Lawler did say “we’re pledging to advocate for low-carbon policies that do in fact take the company and the world to net-zero” carbon emissions.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman: “This is a historic hearing. For the first time top fossil fuel executives are testifying together before Congress under oath about the industry’s role in causing climate change and their efforts to cover it up. For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today. Big Oil has known the truth about climate change for decades.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, (D) California: “In 1994, the CEOs of the seven largest tobacco companies appeared right here before our committee. They too faced a choice. They chose to lie under oath, denying that nicotine was addictive. As I’m sure you realize, that didn’t turn out too well for them. I hope Big Oil will not follow the same playbook as Big Tobacco. You are powerful leaders at the top of the corporate world at a turning point for our planet. Be better. Spare us the spin today, really, we have no interest in it. Spin doesn’t work under oath.”

Darren Woods, Chief Executive Officer ExxonMobil Corporation: “ExxonMobil has been engaged in policy discussions related to the energy environment for years. Our views on policies and its implications have been guided by our our understanding of the science. We’ve been vocal and transparent in our support for governments to implement policies that are cost effective and achieve the greatest emission reductions at the lowest overall cost to society.”

Michael Wirth, Chief Executive Officer Chevron Corporation: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. At Chevron, we’ve been very clear about where we stand. We accept the scientific consensus. Climate change is real and the use of fossil fuels contributes to it. We are committed to helping address this challenge. I also want to address directly a concern expressed by some of those calling for these hearing, today’s hearing. While our views on climate change have developed over time, any suggestion that Chevron is engaged in an effort to spread disinformation and mislead the public on these complex issues is simply wrong.”

Rep. James Comer, House Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member: “The purpose of this hearing is clear to deliver partisan theater for primetime news. Subcommittee Chairman (Rep. Ro) Khanna went to the media threatening subpoenas months before any of the witnesses were even invited to testify. Now, despite receiving well over 100,000 pages of documents from today’s witnesses, Democrats are complaining that no one is cooperating with them. Chairwoman Maloney, this hearing is simply a distraction from the crises that the Biden administration’s policies have caused for the American people.”

Oil company leaders at ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron and Shell testified on climate change in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Thursday. Their testimony, shown in the video above, was in response to allegations the oil industry concealed evidence about the dangers of climate change.

Thursday’s hearing came after months of public efforts by Democrats to obtain documents and other information on the industry’s role in stopping climate action over multiple decades. Democrats say the fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change since at least 1977, yet spread disinformation regarding the harm the industry’s products cause.

“For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe,” committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said Thursday. “That ends today. Big Oil has known the truth about climate change for decades.”

Oil company leaders denied those allegations at the hearing.

“ExxonMobil has been engaged in policy discussions related to the energy environment for years,” ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods said. “We’ve been vocal and transparent in our support for governments to implement policies that are cost effective and achieve the greatest emission reductions at the lowest overall cost to society.”

“At Chevron, we’ve been very clear about where we stand. We accept the scientific consensus. Climate change is real and the use of fossil fuels contributes to it,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth added. “While our views on climate change have developed over time, any suggestion that Chevron is engaged in an effort to spread disinformation and mislead the public on these complex issues is simply wrong.”

While the oil company leaders agreed with Maloney on the existence and threat posed by climate change, they refused her request to pledge that their companies would not spend money to oppose efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. BP America CEO David Lawler did say “we’re pledging to advocate for low-carbon policies that do in fact take the company and the world to net-zero” carbon emissions.

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