The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
Moynihan’s wisdom is apparently lost on some in the climate change activist community. A great example is seen today in a so-called “groundbreaking investigation” by anti-oil and gas activists who cherry-picked documents, most of which we’ve made publicly available, to distort our history of pioneering climate science research.
Our scientists have been involved in climate research and related policy analysis for more than 30 years, yielding more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed publications. They’ve participated in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since its inception and were involved in the National Academy of Sciences review of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment Report.
We fund and partner with many universities on climate modeling and research into lower carbon fuel sources and other climate-related issues.
And since 2009, we’ve supported a revenue-neutral carbon tax as the most effective, transparent and efficient way for governments to send a signal to consumers and the economy to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.
We have the same concerns as people everywhere – and that is how to address the dual challenge of meeting the world’s energy needs while managing the environmental effects of energy use, including climate change.
ExxonMobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research into technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options. And as the largest natural gas producer in the United States, we have played a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions here in the United States to levels dating back to the 1990s.
I certainly understand that for many politicians and environmental activists we make an easy target if they are looking for a villain to simplify the complex issues involved in climate policy.
But let’s look at a few more facts that need to be part of the discussion. Starting with the most important that most people recognize as true because it affects them daily.
Our modern life depends on energy. From your smart phone, to your commute to work to cooling or heating your home. It all takes energy.
Fact number two is that there are no viable and available alternatives right now in the volumes required to displace carbon-based energy. That doesn’t mean wind and solar don’t play a role and there won’t be future breakthroughs, because there is a massive effort working on it.
But all credible energy forecasters – the International Energy Agency, the U.S. Energy Information Agency and our own economists – agree that the global energy system is so vast and complex that carbon-based energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal will continue to meet upwards of 70 percent of global energy needs until at least the middle of the century.
So we will continue to do our part to help solve this global challenge to provide the reliable and affordable energy the world needs while managing the environmental effects of energy use.
And we’ll keep looking for solutions through science-based research and development.