Clinton Joins Sanders, O’Malley: Probe Exxon Climate Denial Funding

Dave Johnson

Former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this week joined with fellow Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley in asking for a federal investigation into charges that Exxon knew as early as the 1970s that climate change was a serious threat, but chose to fund climate denial for profit.

Also, in a joint letter to the Justice Department, leaders of many of the country’s largest environmental groups, civil rights organizations, and indigenous people’s movements issued a joint letter calling for an investigation. The letter says:

As leaders of some of the nation’s environmental, indigenous peoples and civil rights groups, we’re writing to ask that you initiate a federal probe into the conduct of ExxonMobil. New revelations in the Los Angeles Times and the Pulitzer-prize-winning InsideClimate News strongly suggest that the corporation knew about the dangers of climate change even as it funded efforts at climate denial and systematically misled the public.

Given the damage that has already occurred from climate change—particularly in the poorest communities of our nation and our planet—and that will certainly occur going forward, these revelations should be viewed with the utmost apprehension. They are reminiscent—though potentially much greater in scale—than similar revelations about the tobacco industry.

These journalists have provided a remarkable roadmap to this corporation’s potential misconduct. We would ask that you follow that map wherever it may lead, employing all the tools at your disposal to uncover the truth.

The Charge

The charge: Exxon scientists and management knew since the late 1970s that the company’s product was helping cause our planet to warm “catastrophically” and that this warming would “endanger humanity,” but company management responded by covering this up and helped fund an enormous apparatus to disseminate disinformation and bribe influence politicians – joining with other companies to commit an enormous fraud on the public for profit.

The full story is spelled out in the recent post “Demands Increase For Investigating Exxon’s Funding Of Climate Denial.” Please click through for complete details. From that post:

According to the reporting, beginning in the late 1970s Exxon scientists repeatedly warned management that their product was contributing to warming the planet, and that this could be “catastrophic.” A senior Exxon scientist, for example, warned in 1977 that “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

[. . .]

Exxon hid its corporate lobbying effort using a network of front groups disguised as ideological organizations and “think tanks” to disseminate disinformation and anti-government propaganda. They worked to sow doubt about the science – including smearing scientists and environmental activists – and to delegitimize potential efforts by governments to regulate its product.

Please read “Demands Increase For Investigating Exxon’s Funding Of Climate Denial.” This post was alternatively titled “Exxon’s Funding of Climate Denial Turned Americans Against Their Own Government for Profit” at some outlets.

Join Campaign for America’s Future and The Nation and “Demand a Federal Investigation of Exxon’s Climate-Change Deception.”

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