Support climate action by day, fight legislative attempts to tackle it at night. That’s what ExxonMobil has been doing, admits Keith McCoy, a lobbyist for the oil company for 8 years, in recordings obtained by Unearthed, the Greenpeace UK research platform.
In excerpts from the scenes broadcast by Channel 4 News , McCoy says that ExxonMobil has aggressively fought science to deny climate change and thus maximize profits and profitability for its shareholders. To do this, the oil company has joined “shadow groups” dedicated to disseminating disinformation campaigns around climate science, a practice that they consider to be within the law.
The idea is to establish a relationship of trust with congressmen that allows you to ask for anything . As the lobbyist explains, the procedure is simple: a “bait” is put on to “attract” congressmen with issues such as the carbon tax, electric vehicles, chemicals, taxes in general and infrastructure. He then gives them information they need to look good, and they help him in return.
Up to 11 senators appear to have this kind of relationship with ExxonMobil: Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Jon Tester, Maggie Hassan, John Barrasso, John Cornyn, Steve Daines, Chris Coons, Mark Kelly and Marco Rubio. All of them, except senators Maggie Hassan and Mark Kelly, have received donations from the oil company, as established by Channel 4 News after checking data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Other lobbying strategies employed by ExxonMobil involves using third parties to conceal its interests from public scrutiny. Instead of exposing itself in a hearing, the oil company uses its associations as a scapegoat to intervene and answer the sensitive questions of the congressmen. This technique has recently been used to remove climate measures from President Biden’s infrastructure proposal.
In response to these revelations, ExxonMobil has stated that it has supported the fight against climate change for decades and has condemned the smear campaign launched by Greenpeace.