US: Green group attacks oil giant on climate research

Publisher Name: 
Guardian Unlimited

An environmental group today took aim at ExxonMobil with the launch of an

online video attacking the oil giant's green credentials.

The Exxon Files, from Friends of the Earth Europe, sets out claims that

the US-based corporation funds climate change deniers in Europe and the


The animated video, which spoofs the X-Files TV series, features two

fictional agents - Deny Fully and Rexx Tiller, of the Federal Bureau of

Inconvenience - who are hired by ExxonMobil to hide the truth about the

negative environmental impact of its business.

To achieve this they secretly fund scientists, thinktanks and lobbyists

sceptical about climate change.

Christine Phol, a campaigner for FoE Europe, said: "ExxonMobil invests

millions of euros funding thinktanks and lobbyists committed to blocking

internationally agreed policies to combat climate change whilst at the

same time spending major sums on advertising designed to present itself as

an environmentally responsible company."

The group wants viewers of the video to register their support online for

a planned complaint to Belgian authorities over Exxon adverts at Brussels


In the ads, Exxon claims to be reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. But

FoE Europe said data from the company's corporate citizenship report

showed Exxon's CO2 emissions increased by 8.7m metric tons from 2003 and


Paul de Clerck, another FoE Europe campaigner, said the adverts were one

example of ExxonMobil's "deliberately misleading advertising campaign".

"The 'greening' of oil giant Exxon is nothing more than a slick public

relations exercise," he said. "Instead of spending millions of

manipulating the facts, they should make real efforts to reduce greenhouse

gas emissions."

An ExxonMobil spokesman rejected the criticism. He said: "The recycling of

this type of discredited conspiracy theory only diverts attention from the

real challenge at hand: how to provide the energy needed to sustain and

improve global living standards while also reducing greenhouse gas


He said ExxonMobil was taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

and was also "supporting research into technology breakthroughs and

participating in constructive dialogue on policy options".

Citing examples, he said the company was working with car manufacturers on

programmes that could lead to fuel economy improvements, and partnering

with the European Commission to study carbon capture and storage


ExxonMobil has been criticised in the past for backing organisations that

are sceptical about climate change. Last year the Royal Society called on

Esso, the UK arm of ExxonMobil, to withdraw support for dozens of groups

that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial

of the evidence".

AMP Section Name:Environment
  • 107 Energy