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Exxon slams report for cherry-picking climate legacy

InsideClimate News reported the oil company led a campaign against causes of climate change.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Exxon slams report for cherry-picking climate legacy
Exxon critical of climate reporting news website it says cherry-picked company information on climate track record. Photo by Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil took aim at climate activists for what the company said were inaccurate and misleading accounts of its position on climate issues.

InsideClimate News has produced a series suggesting the energy company deliberately campaigned to cast doubt about the impacts of climate change even though its own scientists warned the issue may threaten its core business.

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Ken Cohen, Exxon's vice president of public and government affairs, said the reporting was inaccurate and deliberately misleading.

"These activists took those statements out of context and ignored other readily available statements demonstrating that our researchers recognized the developing nature of climate science at the time which, in fact, mirrored global understanding," he said in an emailed statement.

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Reporting from InsideClimate News drew the attention of presidential contenders and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who called on the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon's legacy stance on climate issues.

Sanders, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said a "misinformation campaign" led by Exxon Mobil "caused public harm similar to the tobacco industry's actions -- conduct that led to federal racketeering convictions."

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Cohen said reporters took much of the company's track record on climate issues out of context and largely ignored its work with agencies like the federal Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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"The facts are that we identified the potential risks of climate change and have taken the issue very seriously," Cohen said. "Activists deliberately cherry-picked statements attributed to various company employees to wrongly suggest definitive conclusions were reached decades ago by company researchers."

There was no statement in response to Exxon's claims by InsideClimate News.

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