ExxonMobil removed from climate change council it helped form over lobbyist comment

Energy behemoth ExxonMobil Corporation has been suspended from a climate change organization that it helped to start, apparently over a disagreement about future policy surrounding a carbon tax.

According to a Friday press release, the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), which was formed to help make climate-related policies, said the decision was linked to something that an Exxon lobbyist said earlier this summer.

The lobbyist remarked that ExxonMobil publicly supports the imposition of a carbon tax on the industry because there is little chance it will gain enough support in Congress to actually pass.

Darren Woods, Exxon’s chief executive officer, disavowed the comments at the time, but the CLC moved to act on them anyway.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to suspend ExxonMobil’s membership in both the Council and Americans for Carbon Dividends, our advocacy arm,” CEO Greg Bertelsen noted in a statement.

ExxonMobil helped found the CLC along with ConocoPhillips, BP, Total Petroleum, and Shell Oil.

The group’s decision to suspend ExxonMobil comes after the organization supported the oil giant in June following the lobby’s remarks.

In a statement, the energy giant ripped the organization’s decision as “disappointing and counterproductive.”

“It’s more important than ever for organizations to work together to advance meaningful policy solutions to address shared challenges and society’s net-zero ambitions,” the company said in a statement.

ExxonMobil went on to say that the company will remain a party to another organization working to reduce carbon pollutants called the Alliance for Market Solutions.

Other organizations, however, expressed agreement with the CLC’s decision to boot the energy major, including the non-profit organization World Resources Institute (WRI), which is a member of the group as well.

WRI officials said that ExxonMobil was not on board with the CLC’s efforts to place a carbon tax on emissions in future legislation that moves forward in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

“We welcome CLC’s separation from Exxon,” said WRI CEO Ani Dasgupta in a statement. The official went on to call on all energy companies to back a carbon tax.

“We urge all companies to re-examine their lobbying, political spending and participation in trade associations to ensure that their actions are fully aligned with their public statements on climate change,” said Dasgupta.

The move to boot ExxonMobil comes amid a new push by the Biden administration to electrify America’s automobiles.

Earlier this week Biden signed a non-binding executive order calling for half of all vehicles on U.S. roads to be electric by 2035, though there are already doubts being expressed by at least one major automaker, Toyota, over a lack of available power.

“Toyota warns that the grid and infrastructure simply aren’t there to support the electrification of the private car fleet,” PJ Media’s Bryan Preston wrote in March.

“A 2017 U.S. government study found that we would need about 8,500 strategically-placed charge stations to support a fleet of just 7 million electric cars. That’s about six times the current number of electric cars but no one is talking about supporting just 7 million cars,” he added, noting that instead of expanding the U.S. power grid, it has been contracting.

Preston cited the ongoing blackouts and brownouts during peak summer hours in the country’s most populous state, California, as well as the winter freeze-driven power outages in Texas last winter as examples of declines in power generation around the U.S.

Jon Dougherty

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