Oct 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Fossil fuel executives to testify at "landmark" hearing focused on climate disinformation

Oil Flare at a BP plant

An oil flare at a BP plant in Whiting, Indiana. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced on Friday it will hold a "landmark" hearing next week with fossil fuel executives focused on the industry's role in spreading climate disinformation.

Why it matters: This is the first time oil company CEOs, and the head of their main trade group, will testify under oath about their knowledge of the link between burning fossil fuels and climate change, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

Details: The hearing will take place on October 28th and top executives from ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, and Shell Oil are slated to appear, as are trade group execs from the American Petroleum Institute and President and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • "We are deeply concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped massive profits for decades while contributing to climate change that is devastating American communities, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and ravaging the natural world," committee chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and subcommittee chair Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) wrote in September. "We are also concerned that to protect those profits, the industry has reportedly led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change."
  • The committee will also focus on efforts to block reforms and lobby against potential climate change action.

This hearing comes ahead of the the COP26 climate summit, slated to begin October 31 in Glasgow.

The big picture: Oil giants, under increasing pressure from activists and investors, have in recent years been stepping up their own climate efforts and investments in cleaner technologies. But oil and gas remain the dominant business lines, per Axios' Ben Geman.

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