England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Multi-million fossil fuel giant accuses the public of destructive greed

By Daisy Whittingham, Socialist Alternative Merseyside

As humanity continues to rush headlong toward climate disaster, with temperatures expected to rise by a catastrophic 2.5 degrees within a century, and vast areas of the Global South becoming rapidly uninhabitable, big business wants the world to know exactly who is to blame: the answer, you.

Darren Woods, Chief Executive of oil giant ExxonMobil, which consistently joins the big hitters in global pollution, has claimed public unwillingness to pay for clean energy is to blame for the worsening climate disaster.

In an adept gaslighting manoeuvre, Woods avoided discussing his company’s record profits by blaming the reluctance of consumers to make meaningful change for the ticking time bomb his company has set off in the atmosphere. Exxon has a long history of burying the truth.

Industry experts with the company have known of the impact of their crude oil profiteering since the early 1970s, predicting in detail the devastating trajectory of world heating.

Rather than applying this information to shape policy for the better, they opted instead to prioritise business model security by investing in campaigns to discredit climate science, block steps to reduce fossil fuel investment and downplay their role in wholesale environmental destruction.

Lobbying effectively to stem climate friendly legislation, Exxon is also currently embarking on legal cases against conservation shareholders perceived as attacking their gas and oil central profit margins with demands for green initiatives.

Exxon does not “see the ability to generate above average returns for investors” from established clean energy such as wind and solar, Woods said. In other words, as profits are simply not to be gained from preventing the annihilation of a liveable eco-system, why would a capitalist even consider it?

Corporate greed has lit the fuse of environmental destruction, only to accuse the public of holding the match. Until the aggressive competition of capitalist world markets, fuelled by profit over people is ended, big business will continue to drive humanity closer to the point of no return.

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