InfluenceMap Analysis : Rex Tillerson, Exxon And Climate Lobbying



InfluenceMap has assessed CEO Rex Tillerson and ExxonMobil’s record on lobbying climate change policy as he is nominated to be the next US Secretary of State.

While it has been reported that the ExxonMobil CEO has expressed support for the Paris Agreement on climate change, our objective survey of over 200 global industrial companies and 40 lobby groups shows the company has engaged in a systematic pattern of opposing climate policy on a worldwide scale. This was true before and after the Paris Agreement was reached in 2015. The company’s lobbying is conducted directly and through a global network of trade associations and advocacy groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council – a group that ranks as the most climate obstructive in InfluenceMap’s survey.

ExxonMobil’s Direct Climate Lobbying

  • Carbon Taxes: ExxonMobil claims to support a carbon tax but this is based on the tax being ‘revenue neutral‘, which it considers the least worst regulatory option. CEO Rex Tillerson has emphasised that the cost of carbon taxes would fall on “those less able to bear it” (May 2014). At the same time, ExxonMobil appears to be funding US lawmakers who have opposed carbon taxes.
  • Greenhouse Gas Targets: ExxonMobil opposes significant greenhouse gas emissions targets. It believes the impact of climate driven policy changes are beyond what society is willing to accept. While ExxonMobil does not openly promote the climate science misinformation as it has for previous decades, CEO Rex Tillerson has repeatedly made reference to the uncertainty of climate change models as a justification for inaction, including in 2015.
  • Emissions Trading: ExxonMobil does not support emissions trading as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and this opposition extends to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. CEO Rex Tillerson believes that emissions trading schemes have been wholly ineffective and has used ExxonMobil’s support for a carbon tax as a pretext for opposing emissions trading.
  • Renewable Energy Policy: ExxonMobil appears to have a global campaign of lobbying against renewable energy policies suggested by the IPCC, the US EPA and the European Commission DG Clima. This includes through a web of think-tanks that Exxon-Mobil continues to fund.

ExxonMobil’s Lobbying Agents

  • American Petroleum Institute (API): CEO Rex Tillerson is on the executive committee of the API, which has aggressively opposed US climate policy for the last decade.
  • American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): A senior ExxonMobil executive is on the Private Enterprise Advisory Council of ALEC, an organisation that has disseminated climate change denial whilst being instrumental in corporate-funded legal action against key US climate change regulation, including the Clean Power Plan and other renewable energy legislation.
  • Western States Petroleum Institute (WSPI): ExxonMobil is a member of the WSPI which aggressively opposed climate change bills AB32 and SB 350 in California.
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM): ExxonMobil executive Neil Chapman is on the Executive Committee of NAM which has opposed climate change legislation including cap and trade policy in California, carbon taxes, and energy efficiency targets.
  • European Groups: In Europe, ExxonMobil is a member of BusinessEurope corporate advisory group and holds senior positions in CEFIC and FuelsEurope all of which have opposed EU climate targets, as well as reforms to the EU ETS.

Download the media note and infographic here.

The idea that Rex Tillerson may be supportive of ambitious climate policy is not at all consistent with our forensic analysis of the activities of his company ExxonMobil

“The idea that Rex Tillerson may be supportive of ambitious climate policy is not at all consistent with our forensic analysis of the activities of his company ExxonMobil and its trade associations. We assess them to be opposed to climate policy solutions advocated by the the US EPA, the IPCC and other mandated bodies, on a global and systematic scale, both before and after the Paris Treaty.” Dylan Tanner, Executive Director, InfluenceMap


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