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Exxon's Climate Lie: 'No Corporation Has Ever Done Anything This Big or Bad'

Exxon's Climate Lie: 'No Corporation Has Ever Done Anything This Big or Bad'

Bill McKibben

I’m well aware that with Paris looming it’s time to be hopeful, and I’m willing to try. Even amid the record heat and flooding of the present, there are good signs for the future in the rising climate movement and the falling cost of solar.

But before we get to past and present there’s some past to be reckoned with, and before we get to hope there’s some deep, blood-red anger.

Tax them, tax their investors, tax those who profited from this.

Tax them at a rate of 1000% of their profits.

Anything less than a corporate death sentence would be too little, too late.


I’d settle for a carbon tax. That would do the trick as far as the climate is concerned. Make fossil fuels uncompetitive and the world will go to alternatives.


A carbon tax on Big Oil is nonsense. We need to understand we face a classic Cartel/Monopoly. A tax will be costly, to be sure, but it could fund more arms to Israel of some other senseless expense. However it will do nothing to reduce CO2 emissions. We really need to think about cutting carbon dioxide emissions. And that means restricting emission all along the economic chain. Remember it takes more than 5 years into a car life to reach the place that the amount of CO2 coming out of the tail pipe was as large as the CO2 emissions released to manufacture the car. The only way to really attack the problem is to establish global limits on production of gas, oil and coal, and on other sources of carbon dioxide. Once a bucket of coal is dug, it turns to CO2 either in a rapid step, like high temperature combustion, or in a slow step, like room temperature oxidation, slow but sure. (If you remember way back, the railroad tracks of the nation’s train system, were dribbled with hunks of coal. Coal which fell off the train. You will find no coal there today. Same with petroleum spills, or natural gas leaks. No, we need to restrict fossil fuel production until we reach a rate of usage that is compensated by the rate of natural processes that remove CO2. Taxing emissions will do nothing to reduce emissions. BIG OIL will just pass along the taxes to the consumers. And the consumers will drive just as many miles if gasoline costs three bucks or five bucks/gallon.

So would I, but hey, if you don’t make the first claim high enough… :slight_smile:

And we need to start doing it whether or not we have a replacement source of energy to take up the slack. We simply can’t wait. Maybe we will have to live with a lower energy standard of living until we can ramp up the alternatives but we shouldn’t let that stop of from curtailing fossil fuels now.


Exxon lied!!! Oh, no, they wouldn’t …!!! The drive for profit is all, and I mean ALL, that exists in the minds and what passes for souls, of these oil-igarchs. It’s getting hotter than ever, and here in my beloved Florida we are sweating like I never have in mid-October. I NEVER experienced temps like this when I was a kid, and I’m 56 now. If we don’t turn this climate crisis around I don’t want to think of what it’ll be like in ten years, God forbid twenty if Mother survives-make that if WE survive-that long.Thank you, Bill, for this piece. Whatever God is, may God forgive ME for not doing more to save this place. Don’t even get me started on God forgiving Exxon.


You will find the same sort of treachery and double dealing coming from those who support the “too cheap to meter” and “it no different than eating a banana” shills who defend Nuclear power.


Really, they would?.. then, why aren’t rich people, or upper middle class, scooping up all the renewables… ???

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Exxon is a business that makes money by meeting one of society’s demands, including fuels for various forms of transport. The fundamental problem is that there are too many people demanding a higher material standard of living. This is an unsustainable process that businesses will adapt to when the reality that the consumption of goods, the operation and maintenance of the aging infrastructure and the devastation of the environment hits society hard in the hip pocket…


IF … there were other forces put into effect to aim at those who have money… AND …if there were forces put into effect to assist those, who would detrimentally be affected by the cost of current fuels… (not by giving them money to keep buying them, but to help them toward renewables… or other changes they could make… or, by "binging the economy to them…) then, I would be for a carbon tax… at this point, the way I understand it… it will ONLY affect those with “less resources” to deal with higher prices… on everything…
Why are we not talking about …say, an executive directive to require anyone making over 200,000 a yr to put renewables on their homes… why are we not talking about CURBING OUR DEMAND… by stopping ridiculous luxury and entertainment oriented activities and manufacturing… ??? Why to cats and dogs need plastic play toys… why do kids need umpteen million plastic toys… LEGGOS have to go…
Why do we leave our homes almost EVERY DAY, to go out to work for CAPITALIST CORPORATE PIGS…
instead of using cottage industry… living locally… and SHUN MASS PRODUCTION OF ALL THAT UNNECESSARY “STUFF”… Leaving home to go to work, we buy multitudes of plastic wrapped food, fast food sold and manufactured/grown my the agribusiness complex…

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NO they create the demand by BLOCKING renewable energy at everty turn,oil is almost FREE to the oil company. Once the well is drilled everyone goes away and that wel keeps pumping for years with almost no human interaction,then they limit how much oil is released artificaly keeping the price high.

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Sorry, but these days, that is not really how it works… read anything about Peak Oil… 'cept, it is not happening fast enough to save the planet…damn it…

Hey, now THAT IS WHAT I LIKE TO HEAR… that is DOING SOMETHING… about climate change…

It does not take a climate scientist or even a particularly bright bulb on the street to see that Capitalism, unrestrained by the requirements of Planetary life support systems, is guaranteed mutually assured destruction. When dollars are sacrosanct to Planetary life support systems, what other outcome can be expected? Socially enabled capitalism is clearly a failed paradigm. Help end tax funded pollution of the commons for starters. Our tax dollars are funding a Planetary ecocide future for the children of ALL species.

“War becomes perpetual when used as a rationale for peace,” Norman Solomon. “Peace becomes perpetual when used as a rationale for survival.” Yours truly.

We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not – the only question we have a right to ask is: What’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it? Wendell Berry


Actually they are believe it or not but that doesn’t mean that they want to scrap all the money they’ve invested in fossil fuel infrastructure. They make big money with the way things are - just as they are. A carbon tax takes away that sweet spot where they do nothing new.

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Because we are not going to try and live in a new version of the Cultural Revolution of Mao where everybody dressed the same and ate the same and had nothing but work etc. Because all those people who do not have land to grow their own food, who need a job to make a living etc. need things to be much like they are except that we don’t pollute the Earth as much as we do now. Because nobody wants to live like a slave with nothing. They want universities and hospitals with skilled doctors and engineers and architects and an educated civilization and not some apocryphal primitive survivalist dystopia which cannot feed hundreds of millions like we do in this country.

We need to get off fossil fuels not go back to the stone age. Ideally everything stays the same but gets the energy needed from alternatives and uses biodegradable substitutes for plastic.


A tax will be costly, to be sure, but it could fund more arms to Israel of some other senseless expense.

I would favor a carbon tax with 100% of the tax distributed per capita to cover the additional cost of products using carbon. That way average users of carbon would break even (the additional cost of carbon would be matched by said distribution), higher than average users would pay more, and lower users would make a profit. All would be incentivised to use less carbon.

Global climate change due to carbon fuels was known since we began the burning.
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory board cautioned us of all
that is happening today, warming oceans, melting ice caps, rising sea levels,
all of it… in 1965 Lyndon Johnson reported it to congress. This science is quite
reliable and predictive. All this time, it was not
only the oil companies, but the government that sat on the information. You can easily
google that and download the science advisory report on the environment from 1965.

     I only recently became aware that every gallon of gas I burn in my car creates

18 pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A gallon weighs…6 pounds, it is 6 pounds of carbon… C
… two pounds of Oxygen O2 from the atmosphere are attached each 6 pounds of carbon (gas) upon burning
or 6 x 2 (12) pounds of oxyen are added to the 6 pounds carbon creating 18 pounds of CO2 in the atmosphere per every 6 pound GALLON of gas in our tanks. In other words, all of the gas in our tanks ends up in the
atmosphere x 3 as CO2. Would you really waste so much gas if you were AWARE. Soon, everyone is going
to be aware and they are going to be thinking OMG, what have we done.

It is going to take more than a tax to fix this., Everyone is going to have to change…

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   I thought you realized how LATE IN THE GAME IT IS..... and first of all I also, would still like to see medical care for all and education etc... but, my whole point is, we CAN still have those things and still get rid of many other aspects of our wasteful culture.   It will take much more than trying to switch out our transportation system, our base load energy system, etc.... BECAUSE IT IS SO LATE.... IF, we had begun our transition say thirty years ago and had done it with gusto, we could possibly have kept things, kind of the way they are with people still being able to enjoy some professional sports at huge ridiculously wasteful stadiums ( actually, I am rethinking that, but....).   We cannot possibly stop our downward crash by still expecting to fly all over kingdom come for any reason, for example.   We are in the last few seconds of civilization.