Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Examines the Oil Industry's Climate Denial Campaign

Oct 21, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (October 21, 2019)—On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will hold a hearing on “Examining the Oil Industry’s Efforts to Suppress the Truth about Climate Change.”

WHERE: 2154 Rayburn House Office Building 

WHEN: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

TIME: 10:00 a.m. EST

The hearing will be broadcast here

PURPOSE

The Subcommittee will examine how the oil industry’s climate denial campaign has negatively and disproportionately affected people of color and vulnerable populations in our country and around the world, as well as drowned out the voices of everyday Americans.

BACKGROUND

  • Decades of climate denialism by the oil industry forestalled meaningful government action to avert the current crisis.  As early as the 1960s, oil giants like Exxon knew that climate change was real and that the burning of fossil fuels was a major contributor to the problem.  
     
  • The lack of government action on climate change has a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities who are often harmed “first and worst” by climate change. 
     
  • Climate denial not only led to these devasting effects on vulnerable populations; it also represents a distortion of our democracy, as powerful, moneyed interests control the conversation and drown out the voices of average Americans who are paying the price of climate change.
     
  • Despite efforts to rehabilitate their image by pledging to stop supporting think tanks and lobbyists who promote climate denialism, Exxon has continued to fund climate deniers.  Exxon still continues to fund organizations “steeped in climate denial and delay” to this day, clear evidence that it has not changed since its initial pivot from climate science to denial. 
     
  • Despite the already devasting effects of climate change, Exxon shows no signs of slowing down on its production of fossil fuels.  To the contrary, Exxon and other oil companies continue to explore for more oil, meaning they are not taking the problem of climate change or the development of alternative fuels seriously. 

WITNESSES

Dr. Mustafa Ali
Vice President, Environmental Justice Climate and Community Revitalization
National Wildlife Federation

Dr. Ed Garvey
Former Exxon Scientist

Dr. Martin Hoffert
Former Exxon Consultant
Professor Emeritus, Physics
New York University

Dr. Naomi Oreskes
Professor, History of Science
Affiliated Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Harvard University

Sharon Eubanks, Esquire
Of Counsel
Henderson Law Firm, PLLC

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116th Congress