The documents — many of them copies of internal emails between oil company officials — describe ExxonMobil’s efforts in 2021 to persuade major industrial firms and oil giants to co-sponsor a massive carbon capture project in Texas. Elsewhere, in one email thread, company officials discuss whether BP, Shell and TotalEnergies–a French oil company–have increased carbon emissions by selling Canadian oil sands interests to other eager investors.
The major oil companies have been criticized for selling oil sands holdings to smaller companies, effectively reshuffling the CO2 liability. In response to this criticism, One speaker said, “What exactly are we supposed to do instead of stripping… pouring concrete over the oil sands and burning the title to the land so no one can buy it?”
Scientists say the world must quickly transition away from fossil fuels to prevent the worst predicted effects of climate change, a position shared by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.
For over a year, it was The committee investigated a handful of major oil companies, along with two of Washington’s largest trade groups, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Chamber of Commerce. The investigation sought documents about industry campaigns to influence public opinion and policy on climate change.
The commission says the industry is misleading the public by advertising its commitment to clean energy even as it invests disproportionately in fossil fuels. In an earlier statement to the documents on Sept. 14, the commission accused the oil companies of continuing to deceive, after earlier disclosures of the oil companies’ work. To undermine the credibility of climate science.
“Instead of outright denial of global warming, the fossil fuel industry has ‘washed’ its record with deceptive advertisements and climate pledges — without meaningfully reducing emissions,” the commission said in a note.
The panel asked each company in the report — including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell as well as the American Petroleum Institute — to provide approximately 15 to 30 documents.
Among the biggest problems was ExxonMobil’s efforts to drum up support for what it said would be a $100 billion carbon capture project south of Houston. ExxonMobil has been told by potential partners that they will only join with other companies that “have reputable climate credentials and stand out to their name.”
“Chevron considers Exxon’s numbers related to tons stored, jobs created, and jobs created to be inflated – but it’s harmless inflation,” said one email about Exxon’s proposal. “Chevron is divided internally on the Houston-centric issue — but it sees that as a small concern. Some minor irritation in some Chevron circles over Exxon’s reputation concerns.”
Many companies have hesitated about the Houston project, although more than a dozen currently support the proposal. ExxonMobil is still looking to the federal government as a potential source of tax credits to cut costs. Tax breaks have been sharply expanded under the recent Inflation Reduction Act.
In another email exchange, in 2016, an oil company official expressed the need to burnish his company’s image in the face of criticism from climate activists, including Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard scholar and author of a book on public relations in the oil industry. campaigns.
“Currently, the likes of Naomi Oresques (Merchants of Doubt) paint people like us as ‘climate deniers’ because we don’t believe renewable energy will solve the entire transition or that it can be done in two decades,” the official wrote.
The documents also detail a 2017 spat between outgoing Shell CEO Ben van Beurden and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy organisation. Krupp said methane emissions along the natural gas supply chain make it as bad an energy source as coal from a greenhouse gas perspective.
“I was very disappointed that he was hurting the good efforts we should have side by side in principle,” Van Beurden said of Krupp, who called off a meeting between the two. He said the EDF chief’s remarks “went too far for me”.
Krupp said in an email today that he has spoken with Van Beurden and other senior executives since then. “The industry continues to release massive amounts of methane, and the EDF continues to pressure them, publicly and privately, to take action to close those leaks,” he said.
The documents obtained by The Washington Post are only part of those expected to be released by the House committee on Friday in another condemnation of what the oil industry calls “greenwashing.” One company official estimated that the required documents ran to more than a million pages.
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