Last month, ExxonMobil sued two of its “activist investors” — groups that try to use shareholder resolutions to pressure companies into taking action on social and environmental problems — in an attempt to block a proposal for the oil giant to limit its climate pollution from coming to a vote at an upcoming shareholder meeting. Follow This and Arjuna Capital announced on February 2 that they would withdraw their proposal from the ballot and promised not to refile. But Exxon says it will move forward with its lawsuit anyway. “We believe there are still important issues for the court to resolve,” an Exxon spokesperson said of the lawsuit, which is the first of its kind to try to take a climate resolution off the ballot. “There is no change to our plans.”
On December 3, 2023, a large number of registered voters in Venezuela voted in a referendum over the Essequibo region that is disputed with neighboring Guyana. Nearly all those who voted answered yes to the five questions. These questions asked the Venezuelan people to affirm the sovereignty of their country over Essequibo. “Today,” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, “there are no winners or losers.” The only winner, he said, is Venezuela’s sovereignty. The principal loser, Maduro said, is ExxonMobil. In 2022, ExxonMobil made a profit of $55.7 billion, making it one of the world’s richest and most powerful oil companies.
In May, NGOs and citizens sued Italian oil giant Eni for its decades of lobbying and greenwashing to delay climate action. Barely two months later, Eni has laid the groundwork for a lawsuit of its own, alleging it has been harmed by a “massive campaign” of “serious defamatory declarations.” The move is indicative of a worldwide escalation of a legal tactic intended to cow critics into silence: SLAPPs — or strategic lawsuits against public participation. Enmeshing activists in lengthy legal proceedings can drain their time and resources — a win for the company even if it loses in court.
Rishi Sunak has confirmed that a fossil fuel-funded think tank helped to draft his government’s laws targeting climate protests. Speaking at Policy Exchange’s summer party on Wednesday (28 June), the prime minister boasted that the think tank’s work “helped us draft” the government’s crackdown on protests, according to Politico. OpenDemocracy reported last year that Policy Exchange’s US wing, American Friends of Policy Exchange, which provides funds to the UK branch, received $30,000 (roughly £23,700) from oil and gas giant ExxonMobil in 2017. Two years later, Policy Exchange published a report entitled “Extremism Rebellion”, in reference to the environmental protest group, calling for the police and the government to clamp down on eco protests.
US fossil fuel corporations like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Halliburton are in discussions to take over the Eastern European nation’s oil and gas industry, as Kiev pushes to increase production to replace Russian energy exports. This comes after Ukraine’s Western-backed leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, virtually opened the New York Stock Exchange in September and announced that his country is “open for business”, pledging more than $400 billion in “public-private partnerships, privatization, and private ventures” for US companies. In an attempt to bring an end to the war, China has taken the lead in proposing peace talks. Brazil’s President Lula da Silva has done the same.
Last February, ExxonMobil announced it would further expand its only active carbon capture and storage (CCS) operation in the United States, located at a gas processing facility in LaBarge, Wyoming. Shute Creek is the world’s largest CCS project and has been operational for over 30 years. Although the oil giant publicly touts carbon capture as a “proven” climate solution, its own early foray reveals just how flimsy of a fix the technology really is — and how expensive, both for taxpayers and the climate. For starters, at Exxon’s Shute Creek, nearly all of the CO2 separated from the extracted fossil gas either has been sold, for a profit, to other drillers to use for squeezing out hard-to-recover oil elsewhere (a process called enhanced oil recovery) or vented back into the atmosphere.
If you had ventured down a dirt road running through remote marshland along the Gulf Coast in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, at just the right time back in late February, you might have come across a pit of gray muck. Down in that pit, you’d find a contractor welding a steel cap about the size of a dinner plate onto a stub of pipe jutting up from the mud below. That pipe was the last visible sign of an old oil and gas wastewater well that once dropped over a half-mile deep into the earth, now plugged up and sealed by contractors hired by the state. For decades, oil and gas companies disposed of millions of barrels of waste down that hole, ringed with cement and steel, dubbing the wastewater well Freshwater City SWD 01, according to state records. Experts told DeSmog the well was defective and that using it put underground supplies of drinking water in the area at risk.
The Massachusetts high court on Tuesday ruled that the US’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, must face a trial over accusations that it lied about the climate crisis and covered up the fossil fuel industry’s role in worsening environmental devastation. Exxon claimed the case brought by the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, was politically motivated and amounted to an attempt to prevent the company from exercising its free speech rights. But the state’s supreme judicial court unanimously dismissed the claim in the latest blow to the oil industry’s attempts to head off a wave of lawsuits across the country over its part in causing global heating. Healey’s lawsuit accuses Exxon of breaking the state’s consumer protection laws with a decades-long cover-up of what it knew about the impact on the climate of burning fossil fuels.
“Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released part of its latest report on Monday. This scientific summary, focused on how the world can cut greenhouse gas emissions, warns of the extraordinary harm to all of humanity caused by fossil fuels and the need for a rapid energy transition away from oil, gas, and coal, calling for meaningful changes over the next three years. “Such investments will soon be stranded assets, a blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios.” That same day, oil giant ExxonMobil made an announcement of its own: a $10 billion final investment decision for an oil and gas development project in the South American nation of Guyana that the company said would allow it to add a quarter of a million barrels of oil a day to its production in 2025.
Our newest report, “The Regulatory Studies Center: A Stain on the George Washington University Name,” delves into the Koch and ExxonMobil funded RSC, which has repeatedly acted as a front for fossil fuel interests with a history of using GW’s name to provide credibility to climate deniers, fossil fuel cronies, and other discredited backers of pseudoscience. The report, written by UnKoch My Campus Student Organizer and GW student Jake Lowe, highlights a number of instances of climate disinformation and details how the RSC has played a role in promoting a deregulation agenda that benefits its donors.
Keith McCoy, a senior director of federal relations at Exxon, told a reporter for Unearthed posing as a head-hunter that that the company had conducted a fingerprints-off lobbying push via several trade groups in an effort to stave off tighter regulations on these controversial chemicals.
During Exxon's annual shareholder meeting, an activist hedge fund called Engine No. 1—which "owns only about 0.02%" of the oil company's stock, according to climate reporter Emily Atkin—ran four of its own director candidates in opposition to the fossil fuel corporation's hand-picked board members. At least two of Engine No. 1's candidates won, with the races for additional boardroom seats too close to call as of this writing.
What’s the single word that fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil’s flagship environmental reports to investors and the public tie most closely to climate change and global warming? According to newly published research from Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes and Harvard research associate Geoffrey Supran, it’s a simple four-letter word, one that carries overtones not only of danger, but also — crucially — of uncertainty: risk. Oreskes and Supran argue in the peer-reviewed study published in the journal One Earth, that by repeating that word over and over as it discusses climate change ExxonMobil continues to connect climate change to uncertainty, even in its most carefully worded and most scrutinized discussions of the topic.
ExxonMobil’s stock plunged to a nine-year low on Tuesday after posting poor fourth quarter results, leading the fossil fuel giant to plunge $184 billion since its’ market valuation since its 2014 peak, as per CNN business. Some analysts argue that Exxon’s bad quarter is emblematic of a broader decline in the fossil fuel industry.
"The best reason to divest fossil fuel stock is that you'd like to help preserve a livable planet. Another reason is so that you won't lose your money." Three days after CNBC host Jim Cramer pronounced fossil fuel investments as being "in the death knell phase," Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded its stock assessment for ExxonMobil, advising investors to sell their shares of the oil and gas giant.