An Exxon sign in South Orange, New Jersey / .
A video from an ExxonMobil lobbyist, revealing how the oil company uses its political power to undermine action against climate change, has embarrassed the company, which immediately distanced itself from the individual.
The recording is a job interview secretly filmed by the Greenpeace research platform in the United Kingdom and released this week by Channel 4 in that country.
In the video, Keith McCoy, Exxon’s senior director of federal relations, says: “Are we aggressively fighting some of the science? Yes. Are we joining some shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes. That’s true. But there is nothing illegal about that for our investments. We were taking care of our shareholders. “
McCoy’s statements reveal contradictions between what Exxon publicly states and what it really wants to do, as in the case of a carbon tax that the company verbally endorses.
“No one is going to propose a tax on all Americans. My cynical side says we know. But it gives us a talking point,” McCoy said in the video. “We can say, ‘What is ExxonMobil for? We are in favor of a carbon tax.’
The lobbyist added that this tax “is not going to happen” because it would take political courage. “That doesn’t exist in politics. It just doesn’t exist,” he said.
He also revealed that Exxon works with “shadow groups” to undermine environmental measures and influence senators to weaken the weather elements of President Biden’s infrastructure plan.
He identified 11 US senators he says are “crucial” to Exxon, boasted that he talks to Democratic Senator Joe Manchin “every week” and discussed how “we on the Democratic side look to moderates on these issues” in his efforts to stop policies that could harm the company’s business.
Exxon condemns the statements
Exxon CEO Darren Woods reacted by saying the comments “in no way represent the company’s position” on climate policy and its commitment to carbon pricing.
“We condemn the statements and deeply apologize for them, including the comments about interactions with elected officials,” Woods said in a statement. “They are totally inconsistent with the way we expect our people to conduct themselves. We were surprised by these interviews and we remain committed to working towards solutions to climate change.”
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Darren Woods, President and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation, speaks during a press conference at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, the United States, on March 1, 2017. . / Brendan McDermid
The executive assured that his company supports the objectives of the Paris climate agreement and is committed to addressing climate change.
Woods also said the comments are “completely inconsistent with how we expect our people to behave” and that the people in the video were “never involved” in developing the company’s positions on the issues discussed.
When asked if McCoy is still an Exxon employee, an Exxon spokesperson declined to comment, adding: “This is a private personnel matter.”
For his part, in a LinkedIn post, McCoy apologized to his Exxon colleagues and friends in Washington.
“I am deeply embarrassed by my comments and by allowing myself to fall for Greenpeace’s deception,” McCoy said. “My statements clearly do not represent ExxonMobil’s positions on important public policy issues. While some of my comments were taken out of context, there is no excuse for what I said or how I said it.”