This week, the EU is taking this accountability up a notch, with ExxonMobil’s decades-long denial of climate science facing the scrutiny of MEPs and the public at a hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.
During the two-hour session, scientists, campaigners and a historian will examine the history of climate denial and in particular the misinformation spread by Exxon, with MEPs able to ask questions about the role and behaviour of the oil major.
The hearing is being held jointly by the petitions committee and the environment, public health and food safety committee. It was arranged following a petition by Food & Water Europe, a Brussels-based non-governmental organisation, which gained 732 signatures.
“To my knowledge, this is the first major body of lawmakers, certainly at the national or international level, to hear on record expert testimony about the history of climate denial today,” says Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard who has examined Exxon’s history of obfuscation on climate change, and who will testify at Thursday’s hearing. “There’s a general momentum here, that investigative bodies are starting to formalise this enquiry.”
Representatives from the oil company itself won’t attend the hearing, due to “ongoing climate change related litigation in the US”, according to leaked notes from the coordinators of the hearing. Exxon did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
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