Exxon/Esso: Loudest Voice in Oil Industry Climate Block

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Exxon/Esso: Loudest Voice in Oil Industry Climate Block

Press release by Friends of the Earth and GERMANWATCH at the Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP 4) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


Buenos Aires, 10 Nov 1998. The largest oil company in the world, Exxon/Esso is the loudest voice protesting against effective international action on climate change, and is behind much of the US government´s obstructive stance, environmental groups said today.

Friends of the Earth and Germanwatch today released two briefings about Exxon´s work to undermine the climate science, and to put pressure on the US government.

Shell, BP have both left key fossil fuel industry lobby group the Global Climate Coalition. BP´s new partner Amoco is leaving this week. Now all eyes are on Exxon/ESSO which funded a successful advertising campaign last year to stop US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and whose executives have done world tours to undermine the issue.

The groups said that instead of choosing a constructive approach to climate change, Exxon/Esso is playing three cards to stop climate protection activities on different levels.

The Science Card: Exxon/ESSO executives, take every opportunity to undermine the climate science. Their chief scientist, Brian Flannery, is here in Buenos Aires.

The Developing Country Card: Exxon/ESSO was instrumental in getting the US to take the line in the climate negotiations that developing countries should take action on climate at the same time as the industrialised north. It is this particular point which has held up the entire process.

The High Cost card: while Exxon/ESSO´s competitors BP and Shell are beginning to recognise that they need to shift their business from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Exxon/ESSO stubbornly remains a fossil fuel company.

"ESSO should take responsibility for the environmental impact of its activities and, at the very least, stop obstructing action on climate change. We have tracked this company and we´ve seen Mr Flannery in Bonn", said Christoph Bals, of Germanwatch.

Friends of the Earth´s Cindy Baxter said: "Exxon is proud of its tiger, its corporate pet. While it pours millions into tiger protection, it´s a fraction of the efforts it pours into stopping action on climate one of the biggest threats to the tiger. How ironic for Exxon and how tragic for this noble cat that Exxon´s core business may extinguish their own logo from the face of the earth."

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