Sunday’s New York Times ran a solid look at Exxon, the world’s largest corporation. Business writer Jad Mouad reports that company is dedicated to squeezing every drop of profit out of every barrel of oil it can find over the next half century.
During the tenure of Lee R. Raymond, who ran the company from 1993 to 2005, Exxon became the lightning rod in the debate about climate change. Throughout the 1990s, the company was vilified by environmental groups and scientists for questioning the impact of human activities — especially the use of fossil fuels — on global warming.
In fact, according the Union of Concerned Scientists, Exxon spent about $16 million on a misinformation campaign meant to delay carbon-mitigation measures (NREL’s Chuck Kutscher discusses the UCS report in the upcoming January/February issue of SOLAR TODAY). Now, Mouad says,
Gingerly, over the last three years, Exxon has moved away from its extreme position. It stopped financing climate skeptics this year, and has sought to soften its image with a $100 million advertising campaign featuring real company executives, scientists and managers. One of the ads said the company aimed to provide energy “with dramatically lower CO2 emissions.”
That’s a smokescreen. The current chairman, Rex Tillerson, is even more rigidly devoted to fossil fuel strategies. Unlike some of its competitors, Exxon has made no moves to diversify into non-fossil energy sources. Last summer, Tillerson beat back an attempt by rebellious shareholders — including members of the founding Rockefeller family — to take a broader view of the company’s future.
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