Climate change: Major US oil companies to be quizzed in Congress




  • In Business
  • 2021-10-28 14:25:20Z
  • By BBC
Pump jacks at a drilling rig in Midland, Texas - file photo
Pump jacks at a drilling rig in Midland, Texas - file photo  

Top executives of major Western oil companies are to testify before the US Congress amid accusations that they misled the public about climate change.

Democrat lawmakers say the hearings will focus on the industry's decades-long denial of its products' leading role in fuelling climate change.

The companies said they hoped to use the hearings to highlight recent efforts to address climate change.

This comes just days before the start of the UN's COP26 climate conference.

The Glasgow meeting is seen as a crucial part of efforts to avoid runaway climate change. World leaders will be pressed on their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and thereby reduce global warming.

The hearings also coincide with efforts by President Joe Biden to pass a flagship spending bill.

Congressional leaders are racing to find a compromise with Republicans and moderate Democrats on climate provisions of the bill before Mr Biden leaves for Glasgow on Sunday.

'Denial and doubt'

Thursday's hearings will be held by the House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

The CEOs of Exxon, Chevron and BP America, the president of Shell and the heads of lobby firms the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce will give evidence.

  • How the oil industry made us doubt climate change

  • What the COP26 climate summit could mean for us all

  • The odd couple blocking Biden's climate agenda

  • Exxon wins New York climate change fight

Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, who chairs the Subcommittee on the Environment, said quoted by Reuters that the hearing was the start of a year-long investigation.

"The idea is for them to admit to the American people what they have done," he said.

A statement by the committee said the industry had known about the effects of global warming since 1977 but "for decades spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products".

Representative Ro Khanna - file photo
Representative Ro Khanna - file photo  

More recently some major companies publicly supported action to prevent climate change while privately blocking reforms, it added.

Mr Khanna said the inquiry could also involve other industries including advertising and social media.

Democrats have drawn parallels with the House's Big Tobacco investigation in the 1990s, which after months of testimony concluded that cigarette companies tried to conceal evidence that their products were addictive and harmful.

  • UN emissions report a 'thundering wake-up call'

  • Poll shows rising demand for climate action

  • A really simple guide to climate change

Ahead of Thursday's hearings, the companies involved said they were cooperating with the investigation and committed to participating.

All four oil giants say they are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and Shell and BP are among a group of companies who wrote to Congressional leaders earlier this month to pledge their support for climate action.

We are "deeply committed to combating climate change and promoting clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency, and... have taken significant steps to reduce emissions and embrace climate-forward business strategies", the letter said.

For more on whether oil companies mislead us on climate change, listen to this BBC podcast, 'How They Made Us Doubt Everything'.

You may be interested in watching:

COMMENTS

More Related News

Beijing easing travel rules for U.S. business execs - China
Beijing easing travel rules for U.S. business execs - China's envoy to U.S

China will reduce the time needed for approval of travel by U.S. business executives to no more than 10 days, China's ambassador to the United States, Qin...

US sues to block chipmaker Nvidia
US sues to block chipmaker Nvidia's $40 bn merger with UK's Arm

US regulators filed a lawsuit Thursday to block the $40-billion merger of graphics chip star Nvidia with mobile chip technology powerhouse Arm Ltd, fearing...

Pro-Trump lawyers ordered to pay $175,000 for
Pro-Trump lawyers ordered to pay $175,000 for 'frivolous' election lawsuit

A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued in Michigan to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory to pay a ...

EXPLAINER: What are the rules for travelers entering the US?
EXPLAINER: What are the rules for travelers entering the US?
  • US
  • 2021-12-02 20:49:21Z

President Joe Biden's latest measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 will increase the hassle factor of flying into the United States, even for American...

EPA outlines $7.4B for water infrastructure headed to states
EPA outlines $7.4B for water infrastructure headed to states

States, Native American tribes and U.S. territories will receive $7.4 billion in 2022 to improve water quality and access, the first installment from the...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business