Aug 06 2006

ExxonMobil Comes Around?

Published by at 5:36 am under General

It takes a long time and a lot of wiggling for a large organization to change a publicly stated opinion which is why big organizations often tend to be, publicly at least, pretty quiet on public issues. Under its recently retired CEO, ExxonMobil was relatively out-front in denying the evidence for and significance of global warming in general and the impact of hydrocarbon based fuels in particular. Not surprising given what ExxonMobil sells, but somewhat surprising that they made as much noise about it as they did.

Well, that seems to be changing under the new CEO; one Rex Tillerson. In addition to an annual report with a lot of big numbers following dollar signs, they publish a “Citizenship Overview” covering their assessment of their performance on non financial measures like safety, diversity, environment, etc. This year in the Environment section, they’ve put a section on “Climate Science” that ends with the following paragraph.

   “Even with many scientific uncertainties, the risk that greenhouse gas
    emissions may have serious impacts justifies taking action. The choice
    of action must consider environment, social, and economic consequences,
    as well as recognize the long-term nature of climate change.”

To me, that’s a surprisingly positive statement. Still a lot of reservations and talk of uncertainty, but then science is rarely ‘certain’. Still, they don’t like the Kyoto Accord, but they do seem to be more accepting of the scientific evidence that we have a problem and say action is required!

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