Exxon Mobil Corp. ramping up its lobbying in support of a carbon tax, marking a shift in the oil giant’s approach to climate change, mais pourquoi?
It’s still unclear exactly why Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker gave up on his efforts to obtain documents from ExxonMobil that could have shed light on whether the fossil-fuel behemoth violated anti-fraud laws. Climate hawks were hoping that Walker might be able to find smoking-gun evidence that ExxonMobil swindled its shareholders about the magnitude of the threat climate change posed to its bottom line.
Climate hawks were also hoping that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey–who, along with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has trying to get to the bottom of whether ExxonMobil committed fraud–might be able to make headway as well, but Healey has reportedly decided to stand down until ExxonMobil’s twin legal challenges to her efforts are resolved.
What if Healey and Schneiderman also decide to walk away from the noble effort to hold ExxonMobil responsible for its obstruction of climate justice? If so, could it be due to concerns that they cannot win this fight in the court of public opinion?
The news about Walker’s abandonment of his efforts to obtain documents from ExxonMobil broke right around the same time that the Wall Street Journal reported on the CO2 conglomerate’s push to get other fossil-fuel powerbrokers to support federal revenue-neutral carbon tax legislation as the “first-best policy”
So… they’ve always advocated for a carbon tax, but quietly until now. The expectation that, under the next president, a broader climate debate might take place is giving them some incentive to look as though they had been engaged in something other than claim change denial since the 1970’s. They never stop playing games.
Image: A river in Egypt.