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InvestmentsU.S. Congress Democrats grill Big Oil in climate deception probe By Reuters

U.S. Congress Democrats grill Big Oil in climate deception probe By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol stands in Washington, U.S., October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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By Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Congress on Thursday opened a yr’s price of investigations into whether or not Big Oil deceived Americans about its function in climate change, with Democratic lawmakers grilling the chiefs of 4 oil corporations and two foyer teams.

Environmental teams and their congressional allies hope the listening to evokes the Big Tobacco hearings of the Nineties, which started a shift in public opinion about that trade. Energy trade representatives plan to concentrate on their present assist of climate motion.

“We will demand accountability from Big Oil for their role in fueling the climate crisis and deceiving the public, and we will urge the industry to finally take meaningful action to rein in emissions from fossil fuels before it is too late,” Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the House oversight committee holding the listening to mentioned.

Representative Ro Khanna, who helps to steer the hearings, mentioned if lawmakers can present the oil corporations lied, “I think it will be a Big Tobacco moment for Big Oil.”

It was the primary time that executives of the highest oil majors – ExxonMobil (NYSE:), Shell (LON:) Oil, BP (NYSE:) America and Chevron (NYSE:) – and the heads of the American Petroleum Institute and Chamber of Commerce answered questions on climate change in Congress below oath.

Representative James Comer, high Republican on the committee, didn’t point out climate change in his opening remarks and mentioned the panel needs to be addressing inflation and excessive power costs he linked to insurance policies of President Joe Biden’s administration.

“The purpose of this hearing is clear: to deliver partisan theater for primetime news,” Comer mentioned.

The lone Republican witness, Neal Crabtree, a welder who misplaced his job after Biden canceled the Keystone XL oil pipeline, mentioned his foremost disaster will not be climate change however his mortgage and the meals he has to placed on his desk.

The listening to comes as Biden heads to Scotland for annual U.N. climate talks and as Congress haggles about climate provisions in reconciliation and infrastructure laws. It was delayed almost two hours by a last-minute go to by Biden to Capitol Hill to replace lawmakers on the framework of his spending and climate laws.

This summer season, the United Nations launched a report warning that except instant, fast and large-scale motion is taken to scale back emissions, the typical world temperature is more likely to attain or cross the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7 levels F) warming threshold inside 20 years.

LITTLE LOBBYING ON PARIS PACT

The committee criticized the businesses’ scant assist for the Paris climate settlement. It launched an evaluation that discovered from 2015, when the pact was agreed, to 2021, Exxon reported in its lobbying disclosures just one occasion of lobbying on the Paris Agreement, and none on any of the 28 payments associated to the pact.

“That means that only 0.06% of Exxon 1,543 total instances of legislative lobbying since 2015 has been devoted to the Paris Agreement or related legislation,” the evaluation mentioned.

Exxon CEO Darren Woods mentioned the corporate “responded accordingly” when the “scientific community’s understanding of climate change developed” and maintained that he believes oil and gasoline will nonetheless be wanted to fulfill rising world power demand.

Woods emphasised Exxon’s investments in carbon seize, a expertise to seize emissions for burial underground or to pump them into ageing oilfields to squeeze out extra crude.

Woods and Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, additionally performed up oil and gasoline as being important for operation of hospitals, faculties and places of work.

BP America’s CEO David Lawler and Shell Oil’s CEO Gretchen Watkins talked about their recognition that climate change was an issue in the Nineties and about their present efforts to adapt their enterprise fashions so as to add extra renewable power and decrease emissions.

The power executives, who all testified just about, additionally mentioned that extra time is required for a transition to cleaner power.

Suzanne Clark, the president and CEO of the Chamber, identified that Biden’s worldwide climate envoy, John Kerry, mentioned this yr that half of the emissions cuts wanted to get to internet zero will come from applied sciences that aren’t developed but.

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