Politics Big Oil to Testify on Climate Change Disinformation—What This Could Mean for Green Economy
Biden sees American credibility on the line as he races to lock down climate action ahead of Glasgow
President Joe Biden wanted the stakes to be perfectly clear when he sat down with nine liberal Democrats in the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss ongoing legislative negotiations. © Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders at the East Room of the White House April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030.
This Thursday, executives representing some of the world's largest oil companies will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to answer questions for the first time regarding the industry's alleged efforts to obscure science on the role of fossil fuels in global warming.
Memos obtained from companies like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell show that oils firms have possessed scientific knowledge of the devastating role of fossil fuel emissions since the 1980s. Nonetheless, companies allegedly promoted disinformation around the harm of their products through lobbying campaigns and secretly funding studies aimed to combat data affirming climate change.
Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Ivory poaching changes evolution of elephants
Today is Friday. Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that tracks the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. Decades of ivory poaching across Mozambique have led to the evolution of tuskless elephants - a stark example of how humans are reshaping the face of nature, The Guardian reported.In a quest to understand why female elephants in Gorongosa national park were often born without tusks, researchers discovered that a once-rare genetic mutation had become common - and that elephants had effectively undergone genetic engineering via ivory poaching, according to The Guardian.
These efforts recently came under greater scrutiny after an investigation by Greenpeace U.K. brought renewed attention to the issue.
An undercover Greenpeace journalist spoke with Keith McCoy, a senior director in Exxon's Washington D.C. government affairs team, over Zoom. During this conversation, McCoy admitted the company worked with "shadow groups" to thwart early climate change efforts and also put up a "fight" against some of the science.
In wake of this report, California Congressman, who chairs the Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on Environment, told Greenpeace he planned to make Exxon and its peers answer before . With this moment upon him, he told Newsweek that he feels these hearings could represent a turning point in public opinion.
What to know about COP26 ahead of global climate summit
Experts say the world still has a narrow window of opportunity to act – and crucial global summit is coming up.Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It's a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it's how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.
"Most Americans aren't aware that these companies have (engaged in climate denialism) or are continuing to do it. Once they're made aware of it, the polling is off the charts that they are shocked by it and oppose it," Khanna said. "What we need to do is expose these companies to start to turn American public opinion."
Khanna hopes that by making these companies publicly answer to these alleged transgressions that they will become "incentivized to stop their disinformation and lobbying and actually change their actions."
Whereas in the past oil companies often conducted their own PR and lobbying efforts, today these companies elect to carry out some of these efforts through trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute (API), a nonprofit that conducts congressional lobbying and boasts revenue of nearly $239 million, according to its most recent tax filing.
Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Today we're looking at a preview of tomorrow's Big Oil hearings, what to watch at COP26 and three Democratic senators taking issue with a provision in the climate deal.For The Hill, we're Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.Let's jump in.
During his conversation with Greenpeace, McCoy referred to firms like API as the oil industry's "whipping boys," deployed to influence policy in a manner that allows the companies to avoid public scrutiny as they deploy climate-conscious messaging. Over the years, the API has faced a growing number of lawsuits, including one from the state of Minnesota, for its alleged role in "downplaying the threat of climate change."
"What our hearing in part wants to expose is to get the money trail to stop," Khanna told Newsweek. "But, that's difficult because the big oil companies can engage in greenwashing while letting other people do their dirty work."
Oil companies have collectively pledged to prepare for "lower-carbon" futures. While European companies British Petroleum (BP) and Shell are working toward this through billion-dollar investments in renewables, American giants Chevron and Exxon remain focused on finding a future for fossil fuels, investing in technologies aimed to suck carbon from the air.
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate Fight
John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate FightAs tourists on the other side of the patio snap photos of Mount Vesuvius looming in the background, Kerry is warning about the fate of human life on earth. Kerry, 77, has been on the public stage for decades as a Senator, presidential candidate and U.S. Secretary of State and, on paper, his latest role representing the U.S. as President Biden’s climate envoy may look like a demotion. But Kerry rejects any question about why he’s taken this role. The fate of civilization is on the line, and he will do anything he can to help. “I’ve fought around war and peace, and that was life and death.
America continues to lag behind Europe in meeting its climate goals. Seventy-eight percent of Europeans expressed concern over climate issues as opposed to 63 percent of Americans, a poll by the European Investment Bank found. With a number of state economies tied heavily to the industry, moving the needle on the issue could stand as a major challenge in certain areas. Khanna said that spurring action after these hearings requires working around that challenge.
"We've got to make them a jobs guarantee because their concerns are legitimate," Khanna said. "We've got to show them the proof. We should say 100,000 guaranteed high-paying, good jobs in clean technology will be in states like West Virginia and Kentucky."
Khanna believes that once these individuals see these jobs rooted into the fabric of their communities, they will become more willing to embrace "bold climate action." Rather than tackling this issue through "think tank speech" and Washington lectures, he said these actions should be taken through grassroots conversations with these constituencies.
Biden's broken climate promises
Despite his statements to the contrary, Biden still represents the very same establishment that has endangered humanity through the climate crisis. He has said one thing on needing to tackle climate change while his policies have dictated otherwise. Or as Gen Z environmental activist Greta Thunberg so eloquently put it: “Build back better, blah blah blah.”The Biden administration has not used all its powers to limit the fossil fuel industry; instead, it has moved to vastly expand it.
The Endless Frontier Act, sponsored by Khanna in the House and Majority Leaderin the , aims to do just that. Through the creation of a Directorate for Technology and Innovation in the National Science Foundation, the bill would allow for the designation of "regional technology hubs" designed to facilitate economic in certain areas of the country.
Right now, that bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce where it will sit before being put up to vote. While the upcoming hearings may very well open a new chapter in America's relationship with the oil industry, Khanna stresses the need for these economic policies, like the Endless Frontier Act, to be implanted during this moment. When it comes to uniting the country around clean energy, he said everyone must walk away with a "win."
"We have to really incentivize those states to have a win. We need a moment like Lincoln during the passage of the 13th Amendment where he went and he figured out what states and legislators needed then gave it to them," Khanna said. "We just have to figure out what it is that we can give these states or individual legislators to make (clean energy) a win."
A spokesperson for Shell told Newsweek in a statement: "We're working hard to provide the Committee with materials and look forward to answering their questions. In a very short time, we have delivered to the Committee thousands of pages of documents that speak directly to Shell's position on climate change over several decades, our strong support for the Paris Agreement, and our efforts to be an industry leader in the transition to a lower-carbon future."
COP26 report card: How the world's largest emitters are faring on climate goals
As countries continue make and increase climate pledges are actions being taken to actually meet those goals? World leaders are converging in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP 26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, six years after creating the Paris Agreement that potentially set the stage for major action to mitigate global warming.
Newsweek contacted the API, Exxon, Chevron and BP for comment.
Biden heads into international climate negotiations with a weak hand .
American politics are undermining the global fight against climate change — again.It’s almost exactly a year since the Trump administration officially, though temporarily, withdrew the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Since Biden’s inauguration, the new administration has had nine months to piece together a plan for the climate negotiations in Glasgow that shows the US is making concrete progress on its domestic pollution.