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Here’s what the Climate Movement wants answered during Big Oil’s hearing before Congress

by Avery Raines

October 27, 2021

Big Oil CEOs are testifying before Congress for the first time in history. Given the chance, what questions would you ask them?

For the first time in history, Big Oil CEOs, other executives and lobbyists will testify before Congress to address how the fossil fuel industry has spread disinformation about its role in driving the climate crisis. This is a huge moment to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable and put a public spotlight on their deceptive and harmful practices.

Back in July, you probably heard about a groundbreaking investigation from Channel 4 exposing a fossil fuel industry lobbyist’s attempts to undercut climate action that shook the world. Immediately following the news story, House Subcommittee Chairman Representative Ro Khanna called on executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell, Chevron and other major oil and gas companies to answer for their years of climate deception before Congress — and it’s finally happening. On October 28th, these fossil fuel executives will be testifying under oath at a House hearing in Washington D.C.

So, we asked Greenpeace supporters to vote on which hard-hitting questions they’d want to ask to interrogate these fossil fuel CEOs and executives on their decades-long efforts to mislead the public about the climate crisis.

On Twitter, we did a poll asking which types of questions our supporters would want these fossil fuel cronies to answer.

 

With a survey through our email list, we asked supporters to vote on which questions they’d be most interested in hearing Big Oil CEOs answer.

We also asked supporters to submit their own questions that we have passed on to Rep. Ro Khanna with a request to ask them during the hearing.

Here’s what supporters want to ask Big Oil:

Sarah, Newmarket NH: Why do you value money and power over the future of everyone (even your own descendants) on the planet? 

Randi, East Moline IL: What do you think is better … for the planet… obtaining clean energy from renewable resources, or to continue pumping toxic substances from the earth that pollute the air and too often leak into the ocean? Please answer honestly.

Joseph, Maumee OH: Do you think it’s honorable to be subsidized by the government while using that money to lobby against the will of the people?

Naomi, Brooklyn NY: Given all your attempts to undermine and manipulate Climate Change science, your pollution and destruction of Indigenous lands and waters, rendering them lethal for all living things, and your facilitation of the slaughter of Indigenous activists who were trying to protect the land, air and water that sustains them, why should you be allowed to continue your lethal, predatory and larcenous activities which are destroying our planet’s future?

Joan, Baltimore MDl: What in the world were you thinking when you decided to lie about the consequences of fossil fuels on the planet instead of telling the truth so measures could be taken to avoid the disasters we are now faced with? Was it just the short term money for your personal status?

Satchel, Eldorado OH: How do you feel about coal, oil and gas workers being more likely to die of cancer compared to other occupations?

Robert, San Francisco CA: What kind of justice and reparations is the oil industry willing to provide in order to atone for years of destruction and ill health that it has knowingly caused around the world? 

Gayle, Windham NY: Can you commit to taking your enormous profits and investing them in green jobs, making life better for the entire world? You can profit from this and make life liveable for all our future generations! Be a leader, not a destroyer of mankind.

Jorge, Ukiah CA: How do you expect to preserve shareholder value after civilization collapses?

John, San Benito TX: You promise you’ll help the world become Net-Zero. What responsibility do you accept for all the abandoned wells and pipelines in terms of locating them, plugging them, cleaning up the sites, monitoring the sites, and fixing any leaks that develop in perpetuity? What percentages by what dates?

Patricia, Camden SC: Please explain why your company receives billions of dollars in government subsidies! Do you think it is ethical to knowingly destroy the planet because your sole motivator is profit?

Dr. Copas, Medina WA: How much, per annum, does each company spend on climate denying PR, climate denying advertising and lobbying, which is directed at climate change?

Steve, Charleston SC: Given that the fossil fuel industry has spent lots of money on propaganda denial, distortion & deception regarding their products’ contribution to climate disruption, do you not think it just for all wealth & assets of the offenders, from the corporations to the executives to the funders, that propagated these lies, to pay for all prevention, mitigation & adaptation of climate chaos & its environmental repercussions?

Simply put — How do you sleep at night!? 

Danish activist Ida Marie in the water with hand banner reading “Fossils our our future”.

It’s clear — we are all furious. The fossil fuel industry has reaped massive profits while driving inequality and contributing to the climate crisis. And while Congress has been working in overdrive to negotiate the Build Back Better Act, politicians like Senator Joe Manchin have been accepting fossil fuel money for years. He’s doing the industry’s bidding by fighting to remove the clean energy standard from the Build Back Better Act, and to maintain the government’s practice of subsidizing the very industry contributing to destructive climate impacts.

We won’t allow the fossil fuel industry to continue to block climate action by cozying up to politicians who in turn award them $15 billion worth of fossil fuel subsidies annually. This testimony could mark the beginning of the end of Big Oil escaping legal and financial responsibility for the climate crisis. It’s time to hold them accountable for the harm they’ve caused to communities, our climate, and our futures. 

The fossil fuel industry has known for decades that its product is dangerous and fuels global climate change, but for years, they have denied climate science and acted to hide their deceptive and harmful practices. At the hearing — we demand answers. We demand justice. 

Avery Raines

By Avery Raines

Avery Raines (she/her) hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and she is deeply invested in working towards climate and migration justice. Avery is the Senior Digital Strategist for the Climate Campaign.

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