When a fossil fuel company under fire for covering up past knowledge of climate change exhorts the President of the United States to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement, something’s not quite right. ExxonMobil manager of environmental policy and planning Peter Trelenberg wrote a letter to the White House earlier this month reiterating ExxonMobil’s position on the deal. He made it clear ExxonMobil thinks President Donald Trump should not pull out of the historic, hard-fought agreement.
On the campaign trail Trump promised to yank the United States out of the Paris agreement. But so far the White House hasn’t taken that step, even in a recent environmentally devastating executive order. Meanwhile Trump’s new Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, has said in the past the president is wrong about climate change, and perhaps could have now persuaded Trump to stick with the deal.
On March 22, Trelenberg wrote to G. David Banks, Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment, thanking Banks for a recent inquiry on the oil and gas giant’s views regarding the agreement. Trelenberg said ExxonMobil welcomed the agreement both in December 2015, when it was announced at COP21, and in November 2016 when it went into force.
Don’t get too excited – Trelenberg didn’t write off fossil fuels altogether. He said, “We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas, and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors.”
Trelenberg said natural gas is the “cleanest-burning and least carbon-intensive fossil fuel” that has helped American attain 20-year lows in carbon dioxide emissions. He did point out ExxonMobil has invested $7 billion in lower emission fuels – such as biofuels made from algae – for around 15 years, and ended his letter with a final call to stay in the Paris agreement.
The irony of the ExxonMobil letter prompted Senator Bernie Sanders to tweet: “It is pathetic that the largest oil company in the world understands more about climate change than the president of the United States.”
Via The Independent