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BREAKING: Senior ExxonMobil lobbyist reveals the company’s efforts to block U.S. climate policy
Greenpeace UK’s investigative platform went undercover and captured the company’s bombshell admission on camera.
Emily Sanders is the Center for Climate Integrity’s editorial lead. Catch up with her on Twitter here.
It’s not Friday yet, we know — but we have an explosive new development on the #ExxonKnew front to share.
A senior lobbyist at ExxonMobil revealed the company’s campaigns to block U.S. climate policy behind closed doors — and Greenpeace U.K. caught it on camera.
Greenpeace UK’s investigative platform Unearthed went undercover as head-hunters looking to hire a prominent Washington, D.C. lobbyist for a major client in order to get one of Exxon’s most senior lobbyists, Keith McCoy, to answer questions on camera.
The footage was posted here:
In the interview, McCoy acknowledges that Exxon secretly and aggressively fought climate policy through dark money front groups and worked to discredit the leading science linking climate change to fossil fuels.
“Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes,” McCoy said. “Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. But there’s nothing, there’s nothing illegal about that.”
McCoy also described how the company publicly “supports” a carbon tax because it knows it’s unlikely to ever pass, and names 11 U.S. senators he says are “crucial” to ExxonMobil’s efforts:
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
And last but not least, Senator Joe Manchin, who McCoy refers to as the “Kingmaker” in the Senate. (D-WV)
McCoy goes on to explain how ExxonMobil lobbied Congress to weaken climate provisions in President Biden’s infrastructure bill:
This is bombshell news, considering the company has been publicly boasting about its “commitments to climate solutions.” While Exxon begs to be involved as partners in addressing climate change, they’ve been actively working to obstruct efforts to do just that — all while refusing to take any responsibility at all for the climate crisis they knowingly caused.
The lobbyist even calls trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute, which has been sued in four states for lying to consumers about the dangerous climate damages they knew their products would cause, its “whipping boy.”
“We don’t want it to be us, to have these conversations, especially in a hearing. It’s getting our associations to step in and have those conversations and answer those tough questions and be, for the lack of a better term, the whipping boy for some of these members of Congress,” McCoy said.
None of this is terribly surprising coming from a company that knew and lied about climate change for decades. But for those who still claim that Exxon has seen religion on climate and changed its tune — well, here’s your answer.
Your move, Congress: