Do you need another reason to loath and detest Exxon Mobil? Anyone living in southcentral Alaska in 1989 probably doesn’t. Anyone who has turned over a beach cobble in parts of western Prince William Sound can have a fresh – for a given definition of “fresh” – reminder more than 28 years on.
Well, Exxon Mobil has given us a new reason to detest the world’s second largest corporation.
Exxon Mobil, is under serious over its past efforts to undercut climate science. Naturally, instead of owning up, Exxon Mobil is accusing the Rockefeller family of masterminding a conspiracy against it. Yes, the Rockefeller family. You know, John Rockefeller -> Standard Oil -> Exxon.
Exxon Mobil is accusing its grandparents of conspiring against it. So much for respecting your elders.
Members of the Rockefeller family support the environmental community. They are very concerned about anthropogenic climate change. They understand the science and recognize the many threats that increasing levels of CO2 bring to humankind. They are trying to do something about it.
Exxon Mobil likewise knows the risks of climate change. Arguably, its scientists were among the first to recognize and quantify the risk. But instead of acting to limit greenhouse gas emissions, Exxon moved to cover it up, to conceal the evidence its own scientists had discovered, and to instead fund fake science and rumor to obstruct efforts to control and reduce CO2 emissions. Because profits.
While the evidence of Exxon’s efforts to lie about climate change aren’t yet conclusive – Exxon is obstructing efforts to force it to cough up the data – the case is very strong.
In a recent long essay in the New York Review of Books, members of the Rockefeller family describe what has happened. It’s worth a read, but here’s the Cliff Notes version: Exxon not only lied about climate science; it hired the same soulless mercenaries who lied about the dangers of tobacco to lie about fossil fuels. Exxon not on denied what its own scientists had said; it contributed millions of dollars to disinformation campaigns to try to prevent anything from being done about climate change.
And now Exxon Mobil is suing the Rockefeller family. Exxon claims its elders are engaged in a conspiracy against it. Right. The company that conspired to fight any effort to mitigate CO2 emissions with an endless stream of lies and criminal tactics is accusing someone else of a conspiracy.
A conspiracy to tell the truth. A conspiracy to exercise their First Amendment rights. A conspiracy to prevent an existential threat.
Exxon litigated the punitive damages award from the Exxon Valdez disaster down to a fraction of what the jury awarded. Now Exxon is litigating with its grandparents, its elders, who happen to be billionaires. To shut them up. To make them stop revealing Exxon for what it is: a company that sets shareholder profits above everything, even existential threats to the planet.
All of which is another reason to loath Exxon Mobil.