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Thursday’s Congressional hearing of top executives from Big Oil companies could be the start of a year-long investigation into whether the world’s largest oil firms have misled the public about the harm to the environment caused by their products, a Democratic lawmaker part of the hearing told Reuters.
On October 28, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Ro Khanna, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment, will hold a hearing of the CEOs of Exxon and Chevron, the CEO for America at BP, the president of the U.S. affiliate of Shell, and the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API), as part of an investigation into the oil industry’s alleged role in not properly informing the public about climate change.
The hearing on “Fueling the Climate Crisis: Exposing Big Oil’s Disinformation Campaign to Prevent Climate Action,” would look “to examine the fossil fuel industry’s long-running, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming,” the House
Committee on Oversight and Reform said last week.
“This will be a year-long investigation and the hearings mark the beginning of it,” progressive Democrat Ro Khanna, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment, told Reuters in an interview published on Wednesday.
“The idea is for them to admit to the American people what they have done,” Khanna said.
“More recently, some large fossil fuel companies took public stances in support of climate actions while privately continuing to block reforms, invest overwhelmingly in fossil fuel extraction, and support efforts to extend the life of fossil fuel investments,” the House committee says.
“The industry reportedly spends billions to promote climate disinformation through branding and lobbying. Moreover, they increasingly outsource lobbying to trade groups, obscuring their own roles in disinformation efforts,” according to the committee.
The oil industry is preparing to argue that the world cannot make a rapid shift to just clean energy, as evidenced in recent global energy price spikes with growing demand for fossil fuels ahead of the winter, a source involved in pre-hearing preparations of the oil firms told Reuters. The executives at the oil firms will also use the hearing as an opportunity to underscore the industry’s recent commitments to slash emissions and invest in low-carbon energy, the source added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com