Big oil companies will finish tobacco companies
Antonio Guterres added, “Some fossil fuel producers were perfectly aware in the 1970s that their flagship product was going to burn the planet. He made the statement during a speech at the Davos Forum in Switzerland. “But, like the tobacco industry, they disregarded their own science,” he added, inferring that “some oil giants peddled the big lie.”
Forty years ago, the U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil had remarkably accurate predictions about global warming made by its own scientists, which turned out to be precisely what happened several decades later, a study in the prestigious journal Science confirmed. However, the company has for years publicly cast doubt on the state of scientific knowledge in this area, the publication also pointed out.
Following the publication in Science, an ExxonMobil spokesperson said that “this issue” had “surfaced several times in recent years,” adding that “each time, our answer is the same: those who bring up what Exxon knew, they are dead wrong in their conclusions.”
Antonio Guterres’ version is clear and “those responsible must be prosecuted” as the cigarette companies were. A reference to the 246 billion USD that the tobacco giants in the United States had agreed to pay in 1998 to 46 states over a period of 25 years, to cover the costs incurred to treat former smokers.
The giant, ExxonMobil, is accused of having had a double talk about global warming caused by the immense quantities of greenhouse gases released by humanity into the atmosphere, notably through the burning of coal and oil to produce energy.
The reaction of Total is aberrant and the boss of Total was questioned on the subject by the French channel BFM Business in Davos, the president of the French giant of hydrocarbons TotalEnergies Patrick Pouyanné affirmed that his group did not “know anything at all”. “Me, I don’t have climate scientists at TotalEnergies,” he said.
“The first thing I would like to see now would be oil and gas companies joining other groups engaged in the critical activity, many of whom are working diligently here to try to address the climate crisis,” said U.S. special envoy on climate change John Kerry.
Al Gore was very blunt: “The oil, gas and coal industries fight tooth and nail against any climate legislation at the national, state, local, and municipal level” and use “their political influence and wealth to prevent progress,” he charged.
The subject of the oil industry’s impact on the planet is all the more pressing today as “every week brings its share of horrifying stories,” the UN secretary-general said, speaking of “flirting with climate disaster. Last Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that the last eight years have been the hottest on record.
“We need to keep the oil in the ground,” 20-year-old Ecuadorian Amazon activist Helena Gualinga said in an interview. Alongside Sweden’s Greta Thunberg and other young activists, she is one of the new faces of climate change mobilization.
Unfortunately, this is not the direction the oil industry is taking, laments Antonio Guterres: “Today, fossil fuel producers and those who support them continue to fight to increase production, knowing full well that their economic model is incompatible with human survival.”
Antonio Guterres, also condemned the “dubious” or “obscure” climate commitments of many companies on a zero carbon emissions target: this “misleads consumers, investors and regulators with false narratives” and opens the door to “greenwashing.”
“Our climate commitments require the full engagement of the private sector” because “the battle to meet the 1.5 degrees (global warming) target will be won or lost in this decade,” he said.
The big oil companies must be ready to pay up and rethink their business model because the scandals will pile up and their “we didn’t know” defence will no longer hold.