A top Exxon lobbyist was secretly recorded bragging about climate denial

Greenpeace investigative journalism team, Unearthed, has just released a damning video of Keith McCoy, a senior lobbyist for ExxonMobil based in DC, boasting about his climate denial efforts, as well as standing weekly phone calls with various US elected officials.

Britain's Channel 4 summarizes the tape:

During the covert recordings, which have been passed to Channel 4 News, Mr McCoy claims:

• the company secretly fought against legislative action on climate change using third-party organisations
• he lobbied key senators to remove and/or diminish climate change measures from President Biden's US $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs bill as it proceeds through the legislative process
• he regards trade bodies like the American Petroleum Institute as "whipping boys" in order to avoid public scrutiny on Capitol Hill


Mr McCoy said: "Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that's true. But there's nothing, there's nothing illegal about that.

"We were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders."

In the recording, Mr. McCoy also talks up his cozy relationships with Congresspeople across the aisle, including Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

None of this is particularly surprising; the public has known for years now that Exxon's own scientists had figured out the dangerous scopes of their climate change contributions years before the climate conversation had gained momentum, and that the company spent absurd amounts of money funding a disinformation campaign into its own science, misleading investors and the public alike. Exxon maintains that everything they did was technically legal (thanks to lobbyists like McCoy who maintain cozy relationships with lawmakers), and that therefore, the ethics of knowingly poisoning the planet and then lying about it are irrelevant. In that regard, the McCoy tapes are nothing new. But the recording is brazen enough that maybe it'll open up some more peoples' eyes to the true scope of this abhorrent behavior.

Exxon's response to the tape is that this particular lobbyist had no direct hand in the company's policymaking. Notably, they don't say he's incorrect or wrong.

Revealed: ExxonMobil's lobbying war on climate change legislation [Alex Johnson / Channel 4]

Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago [Shannon Hall / Scientific American]

Exxon Is On Trial, Accused Of Misleading Investors About Risks Of Climate Change [Laura Walmsley / NPR]