Big Oil Changes its Tune: Climate is Warming, But We'll Adapt

Big Oil Changes its Tune: Climate is Warming, But We\'ll Adapt

ExxonMobil’s CEO acknowledged that global temperatures are rising due to increased CO2 emissions, but said that it’s an engineering problem with an engineering solution.

In the face of incontrovertible evidence, it seems even big oil is distancing itself from the climate change deniers these days. They’re new rationale for embracing the risks of oil and gas drilling and transport is that society will adapt.

It’s just an engineering problem

In a speech this week, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is reported to have acknowledged that global temperatures are rising. “Increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere will have a warming impact,” Tillerson said. “It’s an engineering problem and it has an engineering solution.”

Though he acknowledged there will be an impact, he questioned the predictions about how much of an impact there might be. Sea levels may rise and climates may warm, but agricultural production will shift and populations will find a way to adapt, according to Tillerson.

But a mighty big engineering problem

When news reporters asked his opinion about Tillerson’s suggestion that we can adapt to climate change, Andrew Weaver, the chairman of climate modelling and analysis at the University of Victoria, said that adapting to the scope of climate change will be much more difficult and disruptive than Tillerson is acknowledging.

Big oil’s new tune

While ExxonMobil seems to have changed their position on climate change, they claim we really should be spending our time and resources addressing more urgent concerns rather than focusing on reductions of fossil fuel-fired power plants, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

“There are much more pressing priorities that we, as a human race, need to deal with,” Tillerman said in a question and answer session following his speech. The world’s poorest residents “don’t even have access to fossil fuels to burn. They’d love to burn fossil fuels because their quality of life would rise immeasurably.”

Big oil has a heart after all.

Photo credit: pornvit_v /

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