New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman held a press conference today with former Vice President Al Gore and a few state-level attorneys general at which a number of discredited allegations against ExxonMobil were repeated. We issued the following statement in response:
Statement by Suzanne McCarron, ExxonMobil Vice President of Public and Government Affairs
The allegations leveled against ExxonMobil again today are politically motivated and based on discredited reporting funded by activist organizations. We are actively assessing all legal options.
The allegations are based on the false premise that ExxonMobil reached definitive conclusions about anthropogenic climate change before the world’s experts and before the science itself had matured, and then withheld it from the broader scientific community. Such a claim is preposterous. It assumes that the expertise of a handful of Exxon scientists somehow exceeded the accumulated knowledge of the global scientific community at the time, and that the Exxon scientists somehow were able to reach definitive conclusions before the science had developed. It ignores the fact that Exxon’s scientists were fully engaged in the public discussion, openly sharing their findings in peer-reviewed publications and public archives, and actively contributing to the work of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Contrary to activists’ claims, our company’s deliberations decades ago yielded no definitive conclusions. As our scientists determined at the time, many important questions about climate science remained unanswered, and more research was required. Accordingly, Exxon, and later ExxonMobil, continued research at leading universities, and also engaged in the public debate surrounding policy responses to the emerging science.
It should come as no surprise that Exxon’s scientists discussed the available scientific research at the time and sought to build upon it through their own studies. This free exchange of ideas is essential to productive scientific inquiry. If such deliberations are subject to legal scrutiny through the lens of later baseless allegations, what incentive do companies have to pursue further research? The investigations targeting our company threaten to have a chilling effect on private sector research.
The allegations repeated today are an attempt to limit free speech and are the antithesis of scientific inquiry. Left unchallenged, they could stifle the search for solutions to the real risks from climate change.
ExxonMobil recognizes the risks posed by climate change, and we believe that everyone should be engaged in meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.