Democratic lawmakers in the US are investigating whether big oil firms misled the public regarding the alleged cause-and-effect relationship between reliance on fossil fuels and climate change, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said in a statement on Thursday.
Heads of ExxonMobil, bp, Chevron, Shell, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the US Chamber of Commerce will also testify at a committee hearing on Oct. 28.
The four companies reported nearly $2 trillion in profits between 1990 and 2019, the committee briefed and also warned that during this same period, the global climate crisis became increasingly dire, and its deadly impact on Americans increased.
“We are deeply concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped massive profits for decades while contributing to climate change that is devastating American communities, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and ravaging the natural world,” the Chairs wrote.
They also voiced their concerns that to protect those profits, the industry has reportedly led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change.
They pointed to the public reporting of these companies and claimed they have been misleading people about the dangers of fossil fuels and misrepresenting the scale of their efforts to develop alternative energy technologies.
Noting that the five largest publicly traded oil and gas companies spent $1 billion to promote climate disinformation through “branding and lobbying” between 2015 and 2018, the statement accused these fossil fuel companies of outsourcing lobbying to trade groups, obscuring their own roles in disinformation efforts.”
“Recently, an ExxonMobil lobbyist was caught on video discussing the tactics employed by ExxonMobil to obstruct climate change legislation, including using API and other industry groups as the ‘whipping boy’ to advocate for policy positions that ExxonMobil did not want to be associated with publicly,” the statement revealed.
By Sibel Morrow