Chris White Tech Reporter
October 21, 2019 2:23 PM ET
House Democrats are asking activists and academics to testify about how ExxonMobil’s supposed contributions to global warming are affecting black people in poor neighborhoods.
House Democrats on the Oversight Committee Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties are inviting academic Naomi Oreskes and other activists to Congress Wednesday to discuss the oil industry and its effect on the environment. Oreskes is known for accusing Exxon of climate crimes.
“As early as the 1970s, oil giants like Exxon knew that climate change was real and that the burning of fossil fuels was a major contributor to the problem,” the committee’s Democrats noted in an Oct. 18 memo announcing the hearing.
The hearing then notes that,”the consequences of climate change have had a disproportionate effect on people of color, low-income communities, and vulnerable populations.” Democrats on the committee titled the hearing “Industry’s Efforts to Suppress the Truth about Climate Change.”
Oreskes and others will testify on the same week as New York Attorney General Letitia James is set to begin a trial against ExxonMobil over how the Texas-based company accounts for the costs of future environmental regulations on global warming.
James’s lawsuit follows New York’s years-long investigation into Exxon, which began under former AG Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in 2018 following reports that he abused an ex-lover. (RELATED: Schneiderman Accuser Says The Abuse Got Worse After Trump Won The Election)
The plaintiffs in the census citizenship question case — New York Attorney General Letitia James (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
“The New York Attorney General’s allegations are false. We tell investors through regular disclosures how the company accounts for risks associated with climate change. We are confident in the facts and look forward to seeing our company exonerated in court,” according to a statement posted on Exxon’s website.
Analysts have criticized Oreskes’ anti-Exxon positions in the past. She relied on invalid research methods to determine Exxon once used ads to cast doubt on climate change, Kimberly Neuendorf, a researcher at Cleveland State University, said in 2018 of Oreskes’ work.
Neuendorf created the research method Oreskes used for a 2017 analysis suggesting Exxon downplayed the effect climate change has on oil futures. Neuendorf believed at the time that the analysis was not performed to her specifications.
Oreskes’ analysis, which focused on Exxon’s ads over the past 40 years, received favorable coverage from Reuters and The New York Times, among several dozen other outlets. Other outlets took notice of several significant problems with the methods and tools Oreskes used to draw her conclusion.
The ads cited in Oreskes report were predominantly from Mobil before the company merged with Exxon in 1999, meaning the professor of history at Harvard University compared the research of one company with the advertorials of another.
She relied on 36 advertorials published between 1989 and 2004. Exxon was formed in late 1999, nearly a decade after the first advertorial was published. Only 11 of the 36 advertorials belonged to ExxonMobil, while the other 25 were exclusively published before the merger.
Oreskes republished portions of her findings on Monday ahead of her testimony.
Exxon has not yet responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about the hearing. Oreskes dismissed Neuendorf’s arguments, telling the DCNF that she is a lobbyist without credentials.
“Neuendorf is a paid consultant whose work has never been peer-reviewed: precisely the sort of misdirection that Erik Conway I wrote about at length in Merchants of Doubt. Unlike Professor Neuendorf, we have always subjected our work to independent, objective expert review,” Oreskes said.
Neuendorf’s curriculum vitae suggests her work has been peer-reviewed several times throughout her 40-year career.