A senior Exxon Mobil lobbyist has been captured on camera revealing how the oil giant is using its power and influence to water down US climate legislation.
The footage was obtained by Greenpeace UK’s investigators, who posed as head-hunters to obtain the information from one of Exxon Mobil’s most senior Washington lobbyists.
Exxon Mobil has publicly said it supports action on climate change, but at the same time appears to be fighting against legislative attempts to tackle in.
Chief executive Darren Woods apologised for the incident, saying: “We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials.”
Greenpeace’s video features lobbyist Keith McCoy, who claims the company secretly fought against legislative action on climate change using third-party sources.
McCoy also said he lobbied key Senators to remove and/or diminish climate change measures from President Biden’s $2trn infrastructure and jobs bill.
McCoy has represented the company in Washington for eight years and is one of Exxon Mobil’s most senior lobbyists.
Greenpeace investigators, posing as head-hunters, questioned McCoy on Zoom about Exxon’s current and historical lobbying on environmental issues.
During the conversation with Greenpeace McCoy claimed that Exxon Mobil has aggressively fought science to deny climate change in order to maximise profit and shareholder return.
He also alleged that Exxon Mobil joined “shadow groups” to pursue climate change denial.
McCoy said: “Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. But there’s nothing illegal about that.”
He added: “You know we were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.”
Exxon Mobil told Channel 4 News, which first broadcast the clip, it has “supported climate science for decades,” adding: “Our lobbying efforts fully comply with all laws and are publicly disclosed on a quarterly basis.”
The lobbyist also named 10 senators that are “crucial” to Exxon, of whom eight have received financial contributions from the oil giant.