ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson made headlines around the world this week when the boss of the world’s biggest oil company acknowledged that climate change exists while giving a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. But that wasn’t all; climate change is real, but it’s nothing to worry about, Tillerson explained, blaming “lazy” journalists and an “illiterate” public for manufacturing fear. And even though he acknowledged that CO2 emissions are having an warming effect on the planet, society will be able to adapt, Tillerson asserted.
Acknowledging that climate change exists marks a radical shift in policy for the energy giant, but to suggest that global warming is no big deal isn’t going to sit well with scientists or environmentalists. “We’ve been working with a very good team at MIT now for more than 20 years on this area of modeling the climate,” said Tillerson. “The competencies of the models are not particularly good.” That assertion was quickly disputed by Ronald Prinn, director of the Center for Global Change Science at MIT, who told MSNBC that current models are good enough to show the benefits of climate change mitigation policies.
Taking it a step further, Tillerson said that society will be able to cope with climate change. “We have spent our entire existence adapting. We’ll adapt,” he said. “It’s an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution.” Great. It’s just an engineering problem. Tell that to the thousands of animal, plant and insect species that go extinct every year.
Lead image © William Munoz