ExxonMobil still in damage control over lobbyist leaks
US supermajor ExxonMobil remained in damage control mode July 2 after an unflattering video of one of its senior lobbyists disparaging its commitments to climate change was leaked earlier this week by activist NGO Greenpeace.
The videos, of current lobbyist Keith McCoy and former lobbyist Dan Easley, were obtained by Greenpeace activists working undercover as headhunters.
In his latest statements about the incident, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods said the last few days have been “disappointing for everyone at ExxonMobil and for me personally.
“A current and former member of our government affairs team were secretly recorded making disturbing and inaccurate comments about our positions on a variety of issues, including climate change policy, and our interaction with elected officials.”
In the video, McCoy said ExxonMobil’s support for a carbon tax was merely a public relations ploy because the company never seriously thought such a tax would be imposed in the US.
But Woods stressed in his July 2 statement that a price on carbon is essential if the world is to meet its net-zero by 2050 aspirations.
“Carbon pricing would send a clear signal through the market, creating incentives to reduce emissions, fostering investment in R&D to advance solutions and providing consumers with transparency to make the best choices,” he said.
And he re-iterated ExxonMobil’s support for the Paris agreement, which seeks to limit industrial-age global warming to 1.5°C.
“Our scientists are working to develop innovative solutions to help reduce emissions, with a focus on the highest emitting and most difficult to decarbonise sectors of the economy: commercial transportation, power generation and heavy industry,” Woods said. “It is in these areas where we believe ExxonMobil can best contribute to the challenge of climate change.”
Although he has not commented publicly about the incident, McCoy took to his LinkedIn channel to apologize to ExxonMobil and his colleagues there and in Washington.
“I am deeply embarrassed by my comments and that I allowed myself to fall for Greenpeace’s deception. 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.”