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Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

ExxonMobil is working to encourage a major Washington lobbying group to support policies addressing climate change, according to a top company official.

Why it matters: Facing public, investor and legal pressure, oil companies are increasingly backing action on the issue of climate change while still remaining members of trade associations whose positions don’t align with that shift. At issue here is the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, whose focus is oil and gas refining.

Driving the news: Royal Dutch Shell, under pressure from activist investors, announced earlier this year it was leaving AFPM, citing "material misalignment"" on climate policies. Exxon is opting to stay and try to influence the group’s positioning, Nick Schulz, Exxon’s director of stakeholder engagement, said at a recent conference.

Where it stands: "They are very aware of what our view is and we are trying to get AFPM to a different position,” said Schulz. “There are other members of AFPM that have a very different view on this."

  • Schulz, who made these comments at a breakfast hosted by The Atlantic at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week in Colorado, said AFPM’s work on other issues — namely safety — are valuable to Exxon.
  • An Exxon spokesperson said the company doesn't support AFPM's position against increasing fuel efficiency standards.

Between the lines: Exxon also supports the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and a carbon tax. Those positions ring hollow to many environmentalists who accuse the oil giant of having muddled the science on climate change decades ago in an effort to stymie action.

  • Yet Exxon also faces skepticism among smaller oil companies and some conservative interest groups for what they see as a massive corporation trying to push out its smaller competitors via government policy.

One level deeper:

“We also think working within the organizations trying to move them along is better than the alternative, which is what some companies have done, which is you exit the trade association. But, then you lose your ability to influence in any way shape or form, which doesn’t mean you don’t ultimately take that step some time, but we think that sometimes that can be counterproductive in the long run.”
— Nick Schulz, Exxon's director of stakeholder engagement

For the record: A spokesman for AFPM said the group has never taken an official position on the Paris Climate Agreement, and is committed to reducing carbon emissions by making more efficient transportation fuels. “We continue to work with our members to evaluate various proposals and the role we can play in the overall effort,” the spokeswoman said by email.

Go deeper: Inside Exxon’s climate strategy

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

2 hours ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."

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