Exxon's CEO Says Fossil Fuels Are Raising Temperatures And Sea Levels.
Why won't the Wall Street Journal?
Exxon’s CEO Rex Tillerson agrees that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are raising global temperatures and sea levels.
“I’m not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It’ll have a warming impact,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations in June of 2012.[i]
Tillerson said that sea levels would rise as a result of human-induced climate change, and that changes in weather patterns could move crop production areas. [ii] And to help control emissions, Exxon Mobil has called for a carbon price.[iii]
If the CEO of the world’s largest oil company accepts the basic physics that humans are heating the climate with excess CO2, why won’t the editorial board of this newspaper? Isn’t it about time?
Climate change threatens our liberty, prosperity and national security. Its mechanism is well understood and widely accepted by almost every climate scientist in the world.[iv] The uncertainty of the exact timing of its inevitable impacts is no excuse for inaction. That’s poor risk management.
Rex Tillerson isn’t the only head of a major oil company who acknowledges that humans are changing the climate. The CEOs of BP, Shell, Total, Statoil, BG Group and ENI call climate change “a critical challenge for our world” and have also called for a price on carbon.[v]
Historically, when faced with a national security threat like climate change, Americans have set aside ideology, faced facts and taken action. It is time for the editorial board of the WSJ to become part of the solution on climate change. Watch this space for how.
[I] Rex Tillerson, speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, June 27th, 2012. “CEO Speaker Series: A Conversation with Rex Tillerson.” Excerpt below, transcript and video available here: http://www.cfr.org/world/ceo-speaker-series-conversation-rex-w-tillerson/p35286EXCERPT:“So our approach is we do look at the range of the outcomes and try and understand the consequences of that, and clearly there's going to be an impact. So I'm not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It'll have a warming impact.”
[ii] Rex Tillerson, speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, June 27th, 2012. “CEO Speaker Series: A Conversation with Rex Tillerson.” Excerpt below, and full transcript and video available here: http://www.cfr.org/world/ceo-speaker-series-conversation-rex-w-tillerson/p35286EXCERPT:“As we have looked at the most recent studies coming – and the IPCC reports, which we – I've seen the drafts; I can't say too much because they're not out yet… They do require us to begin to exert – or spend more policy effort on adaptation. What do you want to do if we think the future has sea level rising four inches, six inches? Where are the impacted areas, and what do you want to do to adapt to that?
And as human beings as a – as a – as a species, that's why we're all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around – we'll adapt to that.”
[iii] Rex Tillerson, speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, January 8th, 2009. Transcript available here: http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/company/news-and-updates/speeches/strengthening-global-energy-security
[iv] NASA, Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
[v] Joint Letter to Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, May 29th, 2015. http://www.statoil.com/en/NewsAndMedia/News/2015/Downloads/Paying%20for%20Carbon%20letter.pdf