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Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Big Oil companies are noncommittal about testifying before a House panel probing the industry's role in spreading misinformation about climate change.

Catch up fast: Top House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrats yesterday sent letters to Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron — as well as two key lobbying groups — asking top execs to testify Oct. 28.

  • They criticize the companies and wider industry for working to "prevent serious action" by casting doubt on fossil fuels' harms. The letters also ask for a suite of documents. The NYT has more.

What we don't know: Whether the Democrats will confront the executives on-camera.

  • Exxon — which is under extra pressure after a lobbyist's unfiltered comments were caught on tape — said through a spokesperson that it received the letter and "will continue to communicate with committee staff." Chevron also told Axios it's reviewing the letter.
  • BP did not commit to sending the head of its U.S. unit but did note its commitment to "net-zero" emissions by 2050 and advocacy for CO2 pricing and methane rules.
  • Shell said it's reviewing the request and looks "forward to working with the Committee to address their questions," and cited its support for the Paris Agreement.

What they're saying: A committee aide tells Axios that lawmakers "will consider all options at their disposal including subpoenas."

  • "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," committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Ro Khanna, a top lieutenant, said in a statement.

Of note: The American Petroleum Institute, whose president is also invited, said it accepts the invitation and will "advance our priorities of pricing carbon, regulating methane and reliably producing American energy."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

UN: Fossil fuel output plans would crush Paris hopes

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A United Nations report warns that governments and fossil fuel companies are planning levels of oil, natural gas and coal production that are "dangerously out of sync" with holding global warming in check.

Driving the news: "[T]he world’s governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and 45% more than consistent with limiting warming to 2°C," it states.

Rep. Khanna questions Sinema's opposition to reversing Trump tax cuts

Progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on "Fox News Sunday" questioned Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) opposition to raising taxes on corporations and high-income people, saying Sinema hasn't been clear on what it would take for her to support President Biden's spending bill.

What he's saying: "I guess my question for Senator Sinema is, she voted against the Trump tax cuts and I just don't understand why she's not willing, then, to raise some of the rates back to what they were before the bill she voted against was passed," Khanna said.

Jan. 6 committee examining Capitol riot financing, Facebook's role

Bennie Thompson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the Jan. 6 select committee, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the committee is "working with" Facebook to obtain requested information and that it is examining the financing that went into the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: In August, the committee issued record requests from social media companies, including Facebook, regarding the lead-up and day of the insurrection. Thompson said the committee is in the process of negotiating with Facebook and other platforms for certain information.