Global Warming Hysteria Comes to Texas

Exxon Climate Change
AP File Photo/LM Otero

It’ll be Christmas in May this week for members of the global warming cult.

Exxon stockholders will gather in Dallas for their annual meeting, and a large contingent of environmental groups and their not-quite-housetrained followers will be on hand to protest.

If the flyer from advertising the event is to be believed, things could get interesting. “Exxon knew about climate change half a century ago,” the release reads. “They robbed us of a generation’s worth of time to prevent the worst impacts from hitting people across Texas and the world.”

It goes on to accuse Exxon of dipping into Big Tobacco’s playbook by lying about the risks and “making hundreds of billions at the cost of people’s lives …” and, for good measure, of perpetrating “what could be the worst case of fraud in history.”

Oddly, the protest will get a funding boost this year from the self-hating wing of the Rockefeller family. In fact, for the first time in the history of the company, there will be Rockefellers on the outside of the meeting looking in because they have divested from the company or are in the process of doing so.

The Rockefeller Family Foundation announced recently it would divest its $45 million in fossil fuel investments “as quickly as possible,” following a decision last year from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to do the same. The Rockefeller Foundation, whose endowment tops $4 billion, continues to oppose divestment, which has created friction in the family that founded the company in 1870.

The Rockefellers don’t, as a family, eschew the filthy lucre that comes from having owned the eighth largest company in the world and the second most profitable. But they do bang on quite a bit about how unpleasant it all is.

“We would be remiss if we failed to focus on what we believe to be the morally reprehensible conduct on the part of ExxonMobil,” said a press release from the RFF, which is controlled by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller.

“There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons.”

They also use various media organs they fund, such as, the Sierra Club and their web newsletter InsideClimate News, to rip the company that made them wildly rich. Hmmm … energy policy media funded by the Rockefellers. Where have I heard that before?

InsideClimate News recently “broke” a multipart series that was supposed to look like cutting-edge investigative journalism but instead read like a political flyer for a low-level state legislative race.

“Collaborating with the Bush-Cheney White House, Exxon turned ordinary scientific uncertainties into weapons of mass confusion,” howled one story.

More Exxon Documents Show How Much It Knew About Climate 35 Years Ago,” blared another.

They keep Bill McKibben, an off-the-hook climate agitator, in business. “Why Bill McKibben is so mad at Exxon,” read a recent headline on InsideClimate News. Perhaps because he is paid to be?

There’s also Rockefeller funding of “Democracy Now,” a notoriously lefty radio news program, and DeSmog Blog, which gets its funding through a Rockefeller offshoot called the Sustainable Markets Foundation.

The conflict among family members only adds to the problems likely to come out during the meeting. Exxon is under fire from attorneys general around the country, led by Eric Schneiderman, the AG of New York, for supposedly quashing information it developed in the 1970s and 1980s on the supposed dangers of global warming and misleadingly downplaying that threat to the public.

The attorneys general are working to subpoena thousands of documents to try to establish that the company committed fraud by failing to warn Americans of the danger they face from global warming, which the AGs say postponed for decades work necessary to address the problem. They do this with an eye toward charging the firm and its executives under racketeering statutes intended for drug kingpins and other top criminals.

Let’s suppose it’s true – a big supposition since Exxon actually acknowledges the risk of climate change and has done a lot more than most of these activists to develop cleaner sources of energy to meet dramatically increasing demand.

Let’s suppose the company was talking about the dangers carbon buildup might pose to the environment years ago. And let’s suppose the company also talked about the limits of the scientific understanding when it comes to informing the policy debate. What exactly would be the crime there? And isn’t that pretty much precisely the speech the First Amendment is designed to protect?

To activists descending on Dallas, the answers to these questions really don’t matter. What they want is a government-preferred science with criminal penalties meted out to those who disagree. Is this the kind of government, let alone scientific community, we want?

But enough with hypotheticals. The activists descending on Dallas would do well to remember that the efforts of companies like Exxon have actually already translated into a cleaner planet. All you need to do is consider the fact that fracking has enabled countries around the world, particularly the U.S., to get decades ahead in meeting emissions reduction goals.

But for activists and the Rockefeller faction that funds them driving hysteria is the goal, not finding genuine solutions.