ExxonMobil has good reason to celebrate its performance during 2005 - 36 billion reasons to be exact. The oil giant announced the biggest profits in history, but that's not the only record-breaker making headlines. A NASA scientist has come forward and suggested that 2005 may be the hottest year in more than a century, and he's not winning any popularity contests for speaking out on global warming.
It's no surprise that Exxon is making money hand over fist. Oil and gas prices skyrocketed during 2005, and Exxon's buddies over at the Bush administration rewarded the oil giant with massive subsidies and tax breaks. Despite these unprecedented profits, ExxonMobil still hasn't ponied up the court-mandated settlement for the victims of the Valdez spill nearly 17 years ago.
ExxonMobil isn't the only oil company in the black these days, but it is the only one to hold the title "World's Number One Climate Criminal." Exxon earned this reputation by using its profits to undermine the science behind global warming and sabotage international solutions. In fact, the oil giant admitted it has a "vested interest in the outcome of the climate change debate."
The top scientists in the world agree that climate change is happening and is caused in large part by human activities, like burning fossil fuels. NASA's own Dr. James E. Hansen pointed out on December 15 that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century. Then during a lecture, he went on to call for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Shortly afterward, NASA had some policy changes - specifically, having the public affairs staff review his coming lectures, papers, web postings and interview requests. Dr. Hansen believes he is being silenced for falling out of favor with the Bush administration.
One person not likely to be intimidated by President Bush's influence is former President Bill Clinton. He remarked earlier this month, "[Climate change is] the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible."
It's time that ExxonMobil took some of that massive profit and invested it in clean, safe, renewable energy. Write the new CEO of Exxon and demand that the world's richest oil company stop funding junk science, and start working on solutions.