Following ExxonMobil’s refusal to give testimony at a hearing of the European Parliament’s Environment and Petitions Committees, the Greens/EFA Group have today called for their lobby badges to be removed until they agree to face MEPs in a public setting. When representatives of Monsanto refused to attend a similar hearing we also got their access badges revoked, so we think the same thing should be done for ExxonMobile.
ExxonMobil had refused to attend the hearing on Climate Change Denial, referring to ongoing court cases in the USA, the first of which dates back to 2015 and which accuses ExxonMobil of defrauding investors by downplaying the risks to its profitability caused by climate change regulations. Other ongoing court cases in the USA accuse ExxonMobil of knowing about the devastating impacts of fossil fuels on the climate, but of working to cover this up.
The hearing was organised by the European Parliament in response to an official petition by Food and Water Europe, signed also by 732 individuals. Since the European Commission refused to do a proper follow up of the citizens’ demands, the European Parliament followed up by requesting ExxonMobil representatives take the stand and defend their position in public.
However, in their letter, ExxonMobil claimed that “public commentary, such as would be solicited at the hearing, could prejudice those pending proceedings”. This is despite the fact that they have an entire website dedicated to defending themselves against the accusations they face in these court cases and by the #ExxonKnew campaign.
ExxonMobil’s ongoing court cases also have not prevented them from attending public events in the European Parliament, together with other fossil fuels companies, to lobby for the “competitiveness” of the European oil refining sector - (see here and here for examples), or from sponsoring the EU energy summit which happened on the 5th March.
In fact, since 2015, when the case in the USA first started, ExxonMobil has spent at least 11.5 million euros in lobbying the EU institutions, according to their own EU Transparency Register declarations.
Although ExxonMobil claims to have cleaned up its act, there is evidence to show that ExxonMobil is still funding organisations that deny the existence of climate change, but also that they are focussing on fighting against real solutions like renewable energy and engaging in watering down climate targets. But they only became too “shy” or too “cautious” to talk to Members of the European Parliament once they knew that they would have some tough questions to face.
In their letter, they even make clear that they plan to have bilateral meetings with certain MEPs, whilst refusing to appear before the PETI and ENVI committees. This is why we think that they should have their lobby badges removed until they are willing to appear before MEPs in public, rather than lobbying EU decision-makers in the dark.