WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional
committee has invited board members at four oil majors to
testify about the industry's role in climate change and
spreading "disinformation," turning up the heat after lawmakers
grilled CEOs last year.
The hearing of officials from Exxon, Shell,
Chevron and BP who were elected to spur change at
these companies over environmental issues is scheduled for Feb.
It is the next phase of a House oversight committee
investigation into the role of fossil fuel companies in blocking
action on climate change and misrepresenting the industry's
efforts to address it.
The panel concluded the first of these hearings last year
featuring the CEOS of oil majors by issuing subpoenas https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/us-congress-puts-big-oil-hot-seat-climate-deception-probe-2021-10-28
for documents on what company scientists have said about
climate change and any funds spent to mislead the public on
"Weve only begun our investigation into the fossil fuel
industrys role in causing the climate crisis and spreading
disinformation," panel chair U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney
said in a statement on Friday.
By turning its sights on on climate change-focused board
members, the committee plans to scrutinize corporate pledges to
cut emissions and invest in cleaner energy sources.
"These are board members who ran on changing these
institutions from the inside," chair of the oversight panel's
environment subcommittee Ro Khanna told Reuters. "They will
have to chose between their life convictions or fealty to their
Among the board members selected to testify include
Alexander Karsner, https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/engine-no-1-win-third-seat-exxon-board-based-preliminary-results-2021-06-02
a strategist at Google owner Alphabet Inc who took one of three
seats for activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 on Exxon's board to
address growing investor concerns about global warming.
The committee also sent a letter to Susan Avery, an
atmospheric scientist and former president of the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution and brought on to Exxon's board as a
climate expert in 2017.
The letters said board members play a key role in holding
management accountable to meaningful emissions reductions.
Each of the four companies invited have announced net zero
emission targets by 2050 and said their plans are aligned with
the goals of the Paris agreement.
The panel will focus on the fact that the companies' net
zero plans are mostly focused on their internal operations, not
on the emissions released when consumers burn the fuels they
Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton did not comment on the new
hearing but said the company has "provided (committee) staff
with more than 200,000 pages of documents, including board
materials and internal communications."
The board members were not immediately available for
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell,
John Stonestreet and Mark Porter)