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Exxon appoints climate steward to board of directors

Susan Avery under Obama called on the next administration to lead on climate change issues.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Exxon Mobil appoints noted climate scientist Susan Avery to serve as a member of its board of directors. Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Exxon Mobil appoints noted climate scientist Susan Avery to serve as a member of its board of directors. Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- As it faces pressure over its environmental legacy, Exxon Mobil announced it appointed a new member to its board with strong climate credentials.

The company announced the appointment of Susan Avery to its board of directors, effective Feb. 1.

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Touting her resume, Exxon said Avery served in a wide-range of positions as an atmospheric scientist, serving in a national capacity as an advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She serves also on the advisory committee for the National Research Council Global Change Research Program.

"Avery's leadership experience in multiple academic and scientific organizations, coupled with her breadth of scientific and research expertise, reinforce the corporation's long-standing technical and scientific foundation," Exxon stated.

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Her appointment to the Exxon board comes amid a shift in U.S. policy on climate change issues and as the company itself faces criticism for its legacy position on the phenomenon.

For Exxon, journalism graduate students at Columbia started an investigation into Exxon records in early 2014 and then coordinated with the Los Angeles Times, which later reported that Exxon "publicly cast doubt" on the existence of global warming after years of leading climate research.

U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration have raised doubts about the human factors behind climate change.

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While at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she served as president and director from 2008-15, Avery said that whoever takes office after President Barack Obama needs to put climate change near the top of their agenda.

"What we need is a high-level, coordinated, national effort that elevates the mission of preparing to adapt to impending environmental changes," she wrote in a briefing paper. "The next administration can lead changes in the executive branch to marshal the resources to accomplish the mission."

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