Environment

ExxonMobil CEO: Burning Fossil Fuels Causes Climate Change, But Energy Independence Is Still Complete Bullshit


We at Unfair Park will never, ever tire of hearing Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Irving-based ExxonMobil, the largest private oil and gas company in the world, admit that the product he peddles has in fact caused the earth's climate to change.

This is the corporation that has for decades bankrolled a campaign to manufacture climate-change controversy, tobacco- and cancer-style, where none actually existed. This is the corporation whose most famous executive, the irascible Lee Raymond -- who steered the company toward the acquisition of Mobil, creating a juggernaut whose economy of scale remains unmatched -- was the single most vehement climate-change denier in the ranks of Big Oil honchos.

Now, this is ExxonMobil, mind you, in whose environmental policy office reside the gurus of hedging, so one foot in front of the other. Acknowledging the mere existence of anthropogenic climate change was a big step. Admitting that the consequences for humans and a host of animal species are dire, perhaps even insurmountable, might be expecting too much. For now, we'll settle for this comment to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York Wednesday, as reported by the AP: "Clearly there is going to be an impact," Tillerson said, adding a caveat, "We have spent our entire existence adapting. We'll adapt. It's an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution."

Tillerson is a civil engineer from ExxonMobil's upstream division, so the fact that he's enraptured by the idea that every conceivable obstacle facing mankind can be engineered into submission isn't at all surprising.

Nor is it surprising that he would lance a major Republican plank: That the key to energy independence requires little more than drilling the shit out of America. He told the CFR attendees that it doesn't matter one damn bit if we used only oil extracted from ANWR, a pristine Yellowstone National Park vista, or the much-abused Gulf of Mexico -- crude is priced globally. That's what Raymond, Tillerson's predecessor, believed with religious devotion.

Not House Republicans, who yesterday passed the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (which is exactly what it sounds like), would have you believe. You know the modern Republican Party is completely out of touch with reality when even intransigent ExxonMobil looks progressive by comparison.

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Brantley Hargrove