Brussels and Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, March 21, the EU Parliament will hold the first-ever hearings by a major body of lawmakers focused on ExxonMobil’s climate denial, in response to a petition brought by Food & Water Europe, the European programme of U.S.-based Food & Water Watch. The hearing illustrates heightened international scrutiny of the company for its decades-long role in concealing the link between fossil fuels and climate change; two U.S. states (Massachusetts and New York) have launched legal actions in response to Exxon’s climate coverup, and the District of Columbia Attorney General has just announced his intentions to do the same.
Exxon was invited to speak at the hearing, but has refused to participate.
Dr. Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard and MIT, who in 2017 co-authored with Professor Naomi Oreskes the first academic, peer-reviewed analysis of ExxonMobil's history of climate communications, will be testifying at the hearings as an expert witness. "Our research shows that ExxonMobil has misled the public about climate change and its implications," says Supran. "In fact, thousands of pages of documented evidence reveal that the fossil fuel industry has known about the basic dangers of global warming for 60 years; yet instead of taking action or warning the public, it turned around and spent decades orchestrating and funding denial and delay campaigns dwarfing even those of Big Tobacco."
“Exxon’s influence by deceit must end,” says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe. “Exxon has known about its role in fueling climate change for decades and its approach has been deny, deny, deny. It’s time for members of the EU parliament to rethink whether they want to continue giving Exxon the privilege of peddling its fraud, and to consider the impact the company’s trickery has had on all of us as we teeter on the edge of climate chaos. These hearings must name and shame the insidious influence Exxon has enjoyed for too long over lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic. We’d like to see similar hearings in the U.S. Congress as well.”
Frida Kieninger, petitioner and Food & Water Europe Campaigns Officer, will be speaking at the hearing as well. “It’s time EU parliamentarians strip Exxon of its priority lobbying access, which is slowing down urgently needed ambitious climate policies,” says Kieninger. “While Exxon has a history of snatching up lobbying opportunities in the EU, the company is refusing to show up to defend its behavior. Exxon must be held accountable. We are asking the EU Parliament to strip the multinational of its EU Parliament lobby badges, just like it did with Monsanto in 2017.”
When: 9h30-10h00 CET
Where: Espace Simone Veil entrance of the Altiero Spinelli building
Short informative performance showing the different ways in which ExxonMobil profits from lobby access to EU decision makers & staff
Possibility to film/take photos and talk to spokespersons
When: 10h30 –12h30 CET; 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. EDT
Where: European Parliament, József Antall building, Room 4Q1 (JAN4Q1)
For registration and access to the Parliament please email [email protected] (providing name, nationality, date of birth and passport number of the participants).
The hearing will be live streamed: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/peti/home.html
When: 13h00 – 13:30h CET; 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. EDT
Where: Politikovskaya Room, PHS 0A50
Eleonora Evi, MEP (EFDD)
Dr. Geoffrey Supran, Climate Solutions Postdoctoral Fund Fellow at Harvard University and Postdoctoral Affiliate at MIT
Frida Kieninger (Food & Water Europe)
Bas Eickhout, MEP (Greens/EFA)
BACKSTORY to the hearing: Following the European Commission’s 2017 rejection of Food & Water Europe’s petition demanding ExxonMobil be held accountable for its climate change cover-up, the European Parliament’s petition and environment committees have taken it upon themselves to organise a hearing.
REVOKING LOBBYIST ACCESS badges to the EU Parliament: When in 2017 chemicals company Monsanto (since bought by Bayer) refused to attend a public EU Parliament hearing on allegations of regulatory interference, parliamentarians for the first time employed new rules to revoke parliament access for companies ignoring summons.
EXXON LOBBYING RESEARCH: Corporate Europe Observatory’s new research report on Exxon’s lobby spending, networks and influencing tactics in the EU will be published on Tuesday 19 March at 10:00. Advance copies of “Climate Arson: The strategies and impact of ExxonMobil’s dangerous EU lobbying” are available on request.
EU/Brussels: Frida Kieninger, [email protected]; +32 289 310 45 / +32 487 24 99 05 (cell)
U.S.: Darcey Rakestraw, [email protected]; +1 202-683-2467
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Food & Water Europe is the European programme of Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit organisation based in the United States.