A campaign to sue the oil giant for deceiving the public on climate change is gaining steam (no pun intended), as Politico reports:
Interviews with advocates on both sides of the feud reveal how quickly the anti-Exxon movement has sprouted, to the point that it’s now consuming op-ed pages, airwaves and courtrooms across the country. Once merely intent on shaming the oil giant into better behavior, environmentalists are pursuing a strategy to discredit the company, weaken it politically and perhaps make it pay the kinds of multibillion-dollar legal settlements that began hitting the tobacco industry in the 1990s.
The campaign — led by some of the same climate activists who defied Beltway wisdom by killing the Keystone XL oil pipeline — has mushroomed into far more than a greens-versus-Exxon feud.
Just last week, a leaked subpoena from the attorney general in the U.S. Virgin Islands revealed a vast probe that demanded Exxon’s communications with more than 100 free-market think tanks, conservative consulting firms and climate-skeptic scientists — proof, the company’s supporters say, that environmentalists are using the legal system to launch a broad attack on their political opponents. The subpoena targets Exxon’s dealings with parties including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Hoover Institution, George Mason University and scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Alabama and the University of Delaware.
Perhaps that’s why the company is now investing in some pretty interesting clean technologies, including one that could help our zero-emission transportation future, as Green Car Reports describes:
ExxonMobil is backing a new process that would capture carbon dioxide from power plants, and use it to feed fuel cells.
The oil giant announced Thursday that it is expanding a partnership with Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy to develop the smaller company’s fuel-cell technology.
FuelCell hopes to combine carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which captures carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, with carbonate fuel cells.
So maybe in the end, the climate punishment will be that ExxonMobil transitions to technologies that boost zero emission vehicles. While it shouldn’t be the only remedy for this kind of corporate malfeasance, assuming they lose in court, it would be a just one.