The bipartisan Climate Leadership Council announced Friday that it has suspended ExxonMobil months after a lobbyist for the company told an undercover activist it only backed a carbon tax for the good publicity.
“After careful consideration, we have decided to suspend ExxonMobil's membership in both the Council and Americans for Carbon Dividends, our advocacy arm,” CEO Greg Bertelsen said in a statement Friday. “We continue to believe that we will establish lasting climate solutions by bringing together a broad and diverse group of stakeholders who can work together to address this enormous challenge. This will continue to be our guiding principle.”
In the June recording, senior lobbyist Keith McCoy told a Greenpeace activist “the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax.”
Exxon was a founding member of the organization in 2017.
The announcement also comes amid reports that the nation’s largest oil producer is considering announcing a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The consideration reportedly comes amid pressure to take more aggressive action to reduce emissions from three members of its board of directors who also work with the hedge fund Engine No. 1.
The Climate Leadership Council's "decision is disappointing and counterproductive,” Exxon said in a statement to The Hill. “It will in no way deter our efforts to advance carbon pricing that we believe is a critical policy requirement to tackle climate change. It’s more important than ever for organizations to work together to advance meaningful policy solutions to address shared challenges and society’s net zero ambitions.”
The company also pointed to the council's comments in the immediate wake of the recording, when it said, “ExxonMobil has helped bring other organizations on board in support of carbon pricing, and its senior executives regularly join us on Capitol Hill to advocate for this climate solution.”
The decision is reportedly the result of internal deliberations that have been underway since the release of the recording.