ExxonMobil fired back at critics who allege the company has been utilizing climate research while publicly downplaying the science on global warming, calling media reports on the matter “inaccurate and deliberately misleading.”
In a statement released on Thursday, the company said investigative reports published by InsideClimate News and the L.A. Times ignored evidence Exxon provided of “continuous and publicly available climate research” that refutes claims that the firm deliberately suppressed data.
Those reports allege that Exxon has utilized research about climate change when making operational and planning decisions while also publicly casting doubt on global warming science.
“Activists deliberately cherry-picked statements attributed to various company employees to wrongly suggest definitive conclusions were reached decades ago by company researchers. These activists took those statements out of context and ignored other readily available statements demonstrating that our researchers recognized the developing nature of climate science at the time which, in fact, mirrored global understanding,” Exxon vice president of public and government affairs Ken Cohen said.
The reports have prompted calls for a federal investigation from two California congressmen and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
California representatives Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week asking the DOJ to asses whether the firm failed to disclose “truthful information” about climate change.
The congressmen also asked the DOJ to determine if Exxon violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO.
On Tuesday, Sanders also called for the department to investigate “potential instance of corporate fraud.”
“These reports, if true, raise serious allegations of a misinformation campaign that may have caused public harm similar to the tobacco industry’s actions – conduct that led to federal racketeering convictions,” Sanders wrote.
The DOJ has not commented on the matter yet.
Exxon defended its record on climate change, noting that it has an active research program into lower-carbon emission technologies, such as algae and cellulosic-based biofuels, and has supported a revenue-neutral carbon tax since 2009.
“The facts are that we identified the potential risks of climate change and have taken the issue very seriously….We recognize that our past participation in broad coalitions that opposed ineffective climate policies subjects us to criticism by climate activist groups. We will continue to advocate for policies that reduce emissions while enabling economic growth,” Cohen said.