This past Sunday, as part of the ongoing global climate strike, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in New York City to demand an end to the fossil fuel era. The march, which kicked off a week of 650 actions around the world, was just the beginning of what promises to be a historic and angry week in the fight for a livable planet.
One of the major drivers behind this growing fury is the recently filed lawsuit in California against ExxonMobil and four other oil giants. The state claims that these companies deliberately deceived the public by downplaying the risks of fossil fuel development, resulting in losses of tens of billions of dollars. This groundbreaking lawsuit combines all the arguments of previous state lawsuits against Big Oil and marks a major turning point in the fight against climate change.
But that's not all. A new investigation by The Wall Street Journal has uncovered even more shocking evidence of Exxon's attempts to undermine climate science for profit. According to documents obtained by the Journal, Exxon has been actively deceiving the public and undermining climate science since the 1970s, and as recently as 2015.
The newly revealed documents show that Exxon not only knew about the climate risks of their products but also actively tried to manipulate the world's leading scientific body on climate change - the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The company had been sending scientists to IPCC meetings since its inception and even had its scientists involved in the drafting of IPCC reports.
Exxon's strategy was highly effective, with the oil giant successfully manipulating the language of the IPCC's reports to downplay the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the latest IPCC report does not mention the words "fossil fuels" anywhere in its summary for policymakers.
The Journal's investigation also revealed that in 2015, Exxon's CEO directed employees to influence the IPCC and undermine their findings. This directive was also echoed in 2012 when the company's former CEO suggested that the Bush administration remove the chair of the IPCC - a vocal advocate for the idea that human actions are contributing to global warming.
These revelations from The Wall Street Journal's investigation paint a disturbing picture of a company willing to put profits above the safety and well-being of the planet. As the world's leaders gather this week for high-profile events, such as Climate Week NYC and the UN Climate Summit, the anger and frustration on the streets will likely only grow louder and more urgent.
The fight for a livable planet is far from over, but with the increasing evidence of deception and deceit by fossil fuel companies like Exxon, it's clear that greater accountability and action are needed. As the global climate movement continues to gain momentum, it's clear that the people will not stand for inaction any longer.