10/28/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/28/2021 09:31
Rep. Khanna's opening remarks are below.
Today, the CEOs of the largest oil companies in the world face a stark choice. You can either come clean, admit your past misrepresentations and ongoing inconsistencies, and stop supporting climate disinformation. Or you can sit here in front of the American public and lie under oath.
Let me remind you of a fact that I am sure your lawyers have brought to your attention. In 1994, the CEOs of the seven largest tobacco companies appeared before this committee. They too faced a choice. They chose to lie under oath, claiming they didn't know nicotine was addictive. It didn't turn out well for them.
I hope Big Oil today will not follow the same playbook as Big Tobacco. You are powerful leaders at the top of the corporate world at a crucial turning point for our planet. Be better.
Spare us the spin today, please. Spin doesn't work under oath. We all have heard the standard corporate line. You will say that your companies have contributed to academic research on climate science. That is true. But the issue is how, despite your early knowledge of climate science, your companies and the trade associations you have funded - nonetheless chose, time and again, to loudly raise doubts about that science and downplay the severity of the crisis. In short, the question is not did you prevent academic research on climate science, but did any of your executives at any point mislead the American public?
You will say you have now seen the light. You will say, you're for a carbon tax to have a "talking point" even though former-Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy tells us you believe "it isn't going to happen." You will say, you're for the Paris Accords. Most of you will say, you are working to reduce emissions - though notably not the 80-90% of emissions from the products you sell, just the 10% arising from your operations. You'll tout carbon capture and storage even though all of the captured carbon is being used to enhance oil extraction, and actually increasing CO2 emissions. Even though there is no economically proven way to store CO2 indefinitely.
Here's the problem. This hearing will show that your actions continue to be inconsistent with the climate goals you now espouse. I wish they were consistent. My goal is not to embarrass you. You have a moment to shine today. You could commit to changing course and taking actions that would avert a climate catastrophe. Or you could continue to deny and deceive out of a sense of institutional loyalty to your company's past.
The choice is yours. As you make it, think of the Indigenous-led demonstrations last week, and the 5 young activists from the Sunrise Movement who have been outside the White House on a hunger strike for nine days and counting. They are putting their lives on the line because they know countless thousands will suffer and die if we continue on our current path. What will you do to end the hunger strike? What do you have to say to America's children, born into a burning world? Tell the truth. It will be better for your companies' future, and it will be better for humanity's future.
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