House Dems grill Big Oil in climate deception probe

MALONEY: “For far too long Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today.”

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday grilled top the country’s top oil executives on climate change, claiming they spent years spreading disinformation about the role fossil fuels play in global warming and seeking pledges they will work in earnest to reduce carbon emissions.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the House oversight committee, asked the CEOs of ExxonMobile, Chevron, BP America and Shell if they would agree to stop spending money to oppose efforts to reduce emissions – appearing less than satisfied with BP America CEO David Lawler’s response.

MALONEY: “Will you take the pledge, yes or no?”

LAWLER: “What we’re pledging to do is advocate for low-carbon policies that do in fact take the company and the world to net zero. That’s the pledge I’m willing to commit to.”

MALONEY: “Well, I’m asking if you’ll stop spending money either directly or indirectly to oppose efforts to reduce emissions and address climate change?! Just stop spending money that’s on lies. I take that you don’t want to take the pledge. Alright.”

It was the first time that the top oil executives and the heads of the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce answered questions about climate change in Congress under oath.

Democrat Ro Khanna compared the moment to the Big Tobacco hearings of the 1990s, which marked a major shift in public opinion about the tobacco industry.

“You are powerful leaders at the top of the corporate world at a turning point for our planet. Be better.”

BP’s Lawler and Shell CEO Gretchen Watkins defended their positions in part by discussing current efforts to adapt their business models to add more renewable energy and lower emissions.

WATKINS: "At Shell we're in action at providing lower and no carbon products to our customers."

Exxon's Darren Woods and Chevron CEO Mike Wirth also played up oil and gas as being essential for operation of hospitals, schools and offices. [FLASH]

COMER: "The purpose of this hearing is clear: to deliver partisan theater for primetime news."

Meanwhile, Representative James Comer, the top Republican on the committee, said the panel should be addressing inflation and high energy prices and did not mention climate change in his opening remarks.

The hearing kicks off a year’s worth of investigations into whether Big Oil deceived Americans about its role in climate change, and came as President Joe Biden heads to Scotland for U.N. climate talks.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting