The extent to which these oil giants will go to protect their interests should not be underestimated. In recent months, Exxon has embarked on a campaign of bullying. They have attempted to intimidate scientists, journalists, and most recently, Columbia University. The school is being targeted in retaliation for the investigative work done by Columbia graduate students who contributed to the Exxon expose. This prompted , campaign director for Oil Change International, to share the following:
Their efforts to control the message and misinform the public is hardly new. On the same day that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report in 2014, Exxon issued its own report touting the importance of oil and gas to the economy and smugly predicting that governments would not dare to impose limits on fossil fuel emissions. This is the kind of condescending self-importance we are dealing with. They bring their immense resources to bear as they are flush with cash after decades of raping and pillaging the earth.
In 2012, the fossil fuel industry was already the . Recent revelations are not likely to improve their standing. The shift in the public’s perception of fossil fuels is fundamentally irretrievable, nonetheless, ExxonMobil is doing what it can to crush the controversy. As asked by , the question is: “Why on God’s-not-so-green-Earth-anymore would anyone want to be Exxon’s partner?”
Fossil fuel companies are modern-day lepers that no one in their right mind would want to be associated with. Even the architects of these clever misinformation campaigns are realizing that such associations are an existential threat. As reported by , last summer, Edelman, the world’s biggest public relations company, divorced itself from coal producers the American Petroleum Institute (API), Alec, the Keystone XL pipeline, fake front groups, and climate change deniers. This has nothing to do with conscience, as the firm explained, such clients pose a direct threat to their bottom line.
BP’s own reports predict that we will see warming that is far worse than the 1.5 – 2 degrees Celsius upper threshold limit agreed upon at the recent COP21 meeting. BP’s annual Energy Outlook report predicts that fossil fuel use will increase and cause warming that is between 2.5 and 6 degrees Celsius. As reviewed in a , the API ran a task force for fossil fuel companies to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983. They also indicate that new investigative reporting by Neela Banerjee with Inside Climate News suggests that the whole fossil fuel industry has known about the impacts of carbon emissions on the climate for decades. Together they successfully conspired to kill the Kyoto Protocol and their deceitful climate-denying lobbying efforts continue to this day.
This is about today
As explained by Bill McKibben, the horrible malfeasance of the fossil fuel industry is not just about what they have done in the past, it is about what they continue to do today:
Despite the fact that they know their industry is responsible for the climate crisis, the fossil fuel industry continues to the veracity of climate science and invest massive sums of money to find and exploit new reserves. As reported by the , a recent study indicates that the world’s 42 largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies (including ExxonMobil, BP and Shell) continue to spend $700 billion per year to identify and develop new fossil fuel reserves. The authors explain that there is no hope of keeping temperature increases within acceptable limits if the ongoing exploitation of new fossil fuels is allowed to continue.
No punishment will ever be equal to the crimes committed by Big Oil. If fossil fuel companies are charged and found guilty of fraud it will earn them little more than a slap on the wrist. Even if all the senior executives were to get their due and be hanged in a public square it would not offset the disastrous reality they have caused. The only thing that comes close to any semblance of justice is the death of the industry as a whole.