Exxon CEO: ‘What Good Is It To Save The Planet If Humanity Suffers?’

At Wednesday’s meeting for ExxonMobil shareholders in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson told those assembled that an economy that runs on oil is here to stay, and cutting carbon emissions would do no good.

He asked, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

One good would be that humanity has a habitable place to live. And in acting to stop the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change, we could avoid a great deal of suffering. Tillerson missed the billions of dollars in damages, thousands of lives lost, millions displaced, and rampant ecological destruction due to the carbon emissions that cause climate change.

Exxon does not see carbon emissions falling significantly until 2040. Staying on this path will mean more suffering: heat waves, conflict, food insecurity, Dust Bowl-like drought, extreme flooding, sea level rise, increasingly destructive storms, and worsening refugee crises.

A Carbon Disclosure Project Report noted that “ExxonMobil noted that the company’s ‘operations around the world include remote and offshore areas that present challenges from existing climate extremes and storms. These severe weather events may disrupt supplies or interrupt the operations of ExxonMobil facilities.’ ” Even so, A 2011 study found that “9 out of 10 top climate change deniers [were] linked with Exxon Mobil.”

So what Tillerson probably meant to ask shareholders yesterday was “What good is it to save humanity if profits suffer?” Last year he had told the Council on Foreign Relations about the “manageable” risks of climate change: “As a species that’s why we’re all still here: we have spent our entire existence adapting. So we will adapt to this. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.”

The beauty of this approach is that Exxon makes money on both ends — they get to sell all their climate-destroying fossil fuels, and then, no doubt, they will sell their engineering skills dealing with the ever-worsening climate extremes. Now that’s win-win.

For the seventh time, almost three-quarters of Exxon shareholders voted down a resolution that would require the company to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from using Exxon products. Shareholders also rejected a resolution that would ban discrimination against gays.

116 Responses to Exxon CEO: ‘What Good Is It To Save The Planet If Humanity Suffers?’

  1. Superman1 says:

    “Exxon does not see carbon emissions falling significantly until 2040.” Neither do EIA, IEA, and other industry reports. And, guess what: these emissions won’t fall because we demand what fossil fuels can give us, and that demand doesn’t fall.

  2. Superman1 says:

    “For the seventh time, almost three-quarters of Exxon shareholders voted down a resolution that would require the company to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from using Exxon products. Shareholders also rejected a resolution that would ban discrimination against gays.” I’m amazed that 25% supported it; the people I know who own energy company stock want one thing only: maximum profits!

  3. Lore says:

    “He asked,” “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

    One of the biggest failures of logic and non sequiturs I’ve heard in a long time. In other words, it’s just not ok to suffer a little now preventing us from all dying later, or I’m here to get mine, to hell with your children.

  4. SecularAnimist says:

    Dishonestly disparaging, denigrating, attacking and obstructing the renewable energy technologies that can make fossil fuels unnecessary and obsolete helps to ensure that emissions won’t fall.

    Which is, of course, why ExxonMobil pays its shills to regurgitate Tillerson’s defeatist fear-mongering propaganda about the nonexistent “suffering” and “draconian sacrifices” that moving to renewable energy will impose on us all.

    Defeatism is the new denial.

  5. gus says:

    How many of those “no”-voting stocks are held by the board members themselves? Anybody who think corporate decisions are one PERSON one vote are wrong.

  6. catman306 says:

    I wonder what it says in the corporate charter, that legally allows Exxon-Mobile to exist, about the well being of our citizens and whether this corporation has a duty to serve our citizens. Someone needs to take a look at the fine print in their charter.

    If they have a duty to all citizens, defined by their charter, and refuted by their CEO, pull that corporate charter and nationalize this menace to us all.

  7. Len Conly says:

    Tillerson’s remark ranks with that of the American officer who said, in the middle of the Vietnam War, “In order to save this city, we had to destroy it.”

  8. Superman1 says:

    “moving to renewable energy” without the draconian sacrifices in fossil fuel utilization is guaranteed to drive us over the climate cliff, if we are not effectively over it already. If that isn’t the true defeatist philosophy, I don’t know what is. But, at least the renewables investors will be happy!

  9. Superman1 says:

    “it’s just not ok to suffer a little now preventing us from all dying later”. But, isn’t that exactly what the Amen Corner here is saying; see Secular’s post above? Like Tillerson, Secular et al are willing to drive us over the climate cliff in order that we don’t have to change our lifestyle.

  10. LJL says:

    Tillerson’s remark needs a translation what he really meant to say was “What good is it to save the planet if rich CEOs suffer?” You just have to know who he considers to be ‘humanity’.

  11. Superman1 says:

    Or, stated more succinctly (my specialty), what Tillerson wants to do to us with fossil, Secular wants to do to us with renewables!

  12. langostino says:

    And of course, when he says “humanity,” he means “my wallet.”

  13. Cesar M Gonzalez says:

    We have net the enemy and it is Exxon !

  14. Zimzone says:

    ‘It’s an engineering problem.’

    No…it’s humanity vs profit problems. Tillerson is the Bachmann of corporate think.

    In other words, he does very little of the latter.

  15. Cesar M Gonzalez says:

    Oil companies have now given up on disguising themselves against how they are truly the enemies of life on Earth.

  16. BillD says:

    We are talking about a moderate economic loss for one generation to limit a catastrophe that will play out over the next 10,000 years. I understand that most people only think in terms of their children and grandchildren and, maybe, greatgrandchildren. Still, they should understand that damages will continute to get worse for a lng time.

  17. Citizen13 says:

    Rex Tillerson, for Crimes Against Humanity and Nature: Guilty as charged.
    Sentence: expulsion from both.

  18. Citizen13 says:

    FAIL. That demand won’t fall, as long as the True Cost (to each and every one of us) is reflected at the gas pump and the meter. You think a gallon of gas actually costs $3.30?? The Trillions in risk, loss, environmetnal destruction, thousands dead and millions ill, ALL born by the American taxpayer. If the True Cost of gasoline were reflected at the pump, you personally would have solar panels on your roof, on your car, on your doghouse, on your hat, on your umbrella…..

    Cheap Energy is a myth, and currently, the GREATEST scam ever pulled on America. Renewable energy is BY FAR cheaper overall, but our taxation and regulation setup so blatantly favors fossil fuels, that these industries continues to rack up the greatest “profit” mankind has ever seen.

    Estimated annual cost to America for burning coal for energy, NOT reflected at the pump: $0.5 Trillion. No wonder the Middle Class has no money.

  19. moe says:

    If he is the CEO can you imagine what the other employees are like?

  20. Superman1, still trolling along, eh?

  21. Marie says:

    Jaw-dropping ignorance and arrogance.

  22. Anton says:

    This guy brings a whole new meaning to the term “moron”. And to think he was the CEO of a company that has over 50,000 employees. Scary sh|t.

  23. Ed Leaver says:

    Yes. But Tillerman has it right also. It is an engineering problem. And engineering is a very human endeavor. Likewise AGW has engineering solutions, should we humans lower ourselves to implement them.

  24. Superman1 says:

    If you could post that info, it would be very helpful.

  25. John says:

    I could Tillerman’s and the Board Member’s point, if I could only get my head that far up my arse.

  26. Superman1 says:

    Correction. Still publishing the truth, even though it’s painful for you and the Amen Corner. Why don’t you refute me; demonstrate how your proposals won’t violate the 1 C interim temperature ceiling, or demonstrate why the 1 C ceiling is too stringent. Or, even 2 C.

  27. Superman1 says:

    Your analysis is right on. Throughout history, technologies and their attendant resource exploitation have been underpriced due to insufficient accounting for proper waste disposal, allowing for far greater diffusion and utilization of technologies than closed-system economics would dictate. We have used the atmosphere, oceans, and landfills for ‘free’ dumping grounds, and now we will bear the consequences.

  28. andy yang says:

    the argument is based on the assumption that humanity will suffer without oil. this is simply not true. for centuries men have lived happy, loving, and knowledgeable lives without oil. but of course, only plagued with problem in capitalistic conflict and fight for natural resources.

  29. Ron says:

    EXXON is guilty of criminal destruction of our planet. Vote with your wallet by NEVER buying gas from these idiots and divest your stocks from all fossil fuel corporations. F Oil & Coal!

  30. Superman1 says:

    That’s the best you can do? And you hope to gain mass converts to the climate change movement with that level response? Why don’t you challenge my numbers, as stated above? Is it because your proposals won’t get us from here to there in one piece; what a surprise?

  31. William Leavenworth says:

    It really is time to put in place some hard and fast government control over international corporations. Meanwhile, those who own a controlling interest in fossil-fuel producers should ask themselves how they want their great-grandchildren to die–of old age, or at the hands of an enraged mob.

  32. David Conklin says:

    Run the flue gases through columns of water with algae in them. After about 5-6 passes there’s no greenhouse gases and you can use the algae for fertilizer, animal feed or using the McGyan process you create more fuel. ExxonMobil won’t do that because they are too stupid.

  33. Citizen13 says:

    What a load of crap. I read Secular’s comment, and you provided an excellent example of EXACTLY what he is talking about: having hopelessly lost the Denialist argument (thank you Science), it’s now the Defeatist one: “well, we can’t do anything about it anyway, so let’s just guzzle gas and live it up while we can!”

    America has been passing the bill for its fossil fuel consumption to its children for 4 generations. And now, when we FINALLY understand the astronomical cost that we are only beginning to endure… you want to just keep spending on that tab. It is the height of irresponsibility, inhumanity, selfishness, and immaturity.

    Do you know why American families have the lowest consumer debt in a generation? Because economic conditions finally opened their eyes on its unsustainability. Too bad you’re not capable of the same wisdom.

  34. Peter Pham says:

    “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

    Absolutely correct, Mr. Tillerson. So, when will gas price go back to where it begins?

  35. With the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma and Super Storm Sandy that hit the Northeast, weather supercomputer models are pointing to global warming being a possible cause. The most common cause of global warming is increased carbon dioxide (CO2) gas levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. Recently an atmospheric test facility in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the Hawaiian Islands (way away from transportation and industrial CO2 on the continents) detected CO2 levels in the air of 400 parts per million. Ice samples from deep drill holes on the Antarctica have revealed that the CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere hasn’t been that high since 8 million years ago. What can we do about it? I like President Obama’s “All of the above” approach to energy and global warming. The increasing CO2 in the air that humans can do something about is caused by burning fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) and fossil fuel distillates (gasoline, propane, diesel, jet fuel, etc.). The US can export as much fossil fuels as it can. This will create a balance of payments surplus with China. In the meantime, America can convert agricultural, human, animal, and solid waste into ethanol to use in place of the fossil fuel distillates (mostly transportation fuels). Only 20% of the world’s waste would be needed to make enough ethanol for all of its transportation needs. Novozyme’s enzymes would convert the agricultural waste into ethanol. Celanese’s thermochemical TCX process will converts all of these forms of waste into ethanol. Both companies would do so at the same cost as refining gasoline from oil. The ethanol produced by these two companies’ methods will have zero net CO2 emissions and it can be used as E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline). The Detroit Big Three Automotive manufactures can build more Flex Fuel Vehicles to burn E85. The International Energy Agency’s scientists estimate that a fourfold increase in worldwide ethanol production will reduce atmospheric CO2 levels by 50% by 2050. This is “combustion recycling.”

  36. Paul says:

    It really is only about one thing – money. It is the thing that destroyed us already. It is the lust passed on from generation to generation THAT WILL NEVER DIE. Humanity is ridiculous – it will fail, badly. All my beautiful artwork for nothing.

  37. Citizen13 says:

    Well, you lead me to point out one of the great differences between this economic crisis and those before: the huge coprorations (be it GoldmanSachs or ExxonMobil) busy fleecing America each day, are not American companies any longer. I don’t mean their legal status, I mean that their profitability is not longer inextricable from the American economy. They are truly global. ExxonMobil has its own foreign policy, for God’s sake, and it doesn’t always line up with that of our State Dept. The extremely wealthy are the same- they are citizens of the world, and only interact with particular nation-states when it proves beneficial to them. Now I think the Nation-state is obsolete, for these reasons and more- but as long as we have this one and our ow economy to manage, we should be very wary of a corporation so large, its gross profits exceed the GDP’s of half the countries in the world, and is capable of manipulating ALL of them.

  38. mark wilkinson says:

    Exxon, that nice company that brought us the Exxon Valdez disaster. And we are surprised that they don’t care about the environment?

  39. Paul Magnus says:

    So few have the power to destroy the livable earth. sad.

  40. Jeff Huggins says:

    Source for the Quote, Please (Problem)

    As far as I can tell, the Washington Post article at the link (in the above post) under the word ‘asked’ does not include the quote attributed to Tillerson here. Can someone please provide a credible source that includes the quote, or, even better, is there a source (on the web) that includes a transcript of Tillerson’s complete remarks, in context, or perhaps even a video of him?

    The quote is remarkable, but I can’t locate (from the link provided here) a credible or even printed source.



  41. DallasNE says:

    Such arrogance. Humanity doesn’t just suffer, it is wiped out unless very significant changes are made. Clear progress is being made with renewable energy and battery technology so I fully expect this to accelerate going forward.

  42. caroza says:

    Here is a useful initiative:
    Polly Higgins is a UK barrister who thinks the earth is in need of a good lawyer and is campaigning to get ecocide onto the Rome Statute as the 5th International Crime Against Peace. (That would get it up there with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity etc). She’s making headway too – apparently it very nearly made it into the 1998 Rome Statute.

    I quite fancy seeing Mr Tillerson arrested when he gets off a plane in Europe, hauled up before the International Criminal Court and chucked in gaol for the rest of his natural life. And if the US would get their act together and ratify the Rome Statute, then you could all have the pleasure of seeing him arrested at home!

  43. Superman1 says:

    “so let’s just guzzle gas and live it up while we can!””. You need to take a reading class! I have stated repeatedly that we have to eliminate all non-essential uses of fossil fuel starting NOW! How one can attribute the quote to me that I extracted above is beyond comprehension.

  44. Superman1 says:

    “you want to just keep spending on that tab.” Your post shows an absolute lack of understanding of what is required to avoid the climate cliff. Read Kevin Anderson; we cannot exceed a temperature ceiling of 1-2 C in the transition period, and the only realistic way that can be avoided is to eliminate all non-essential fossil fuel use. That’s the ‘draconian sacrifice’ I’m talking about, and what Secular refuses to accept.

  45. Mike Kellar says:

    I agree with Jeff Huggins (May 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm) Where is the source for the first incendary quote? It’s not in the linked article AFAIK.

  46. Steve Dexter says:

    I guess selfishness exceeds responsible citizenship.

  47. Donald Brown says:

    ExxonMobile has been fighting climate change from the moment Exxon and Mobile merged, and before that Exxon and Mobil independently were funding the disinformation campaign including people making claims that are demonstratively false such as there is no evidence of human causation, the entire phenomenon is a hoax, etc. We need to see this as some new kind of crime against humanity, *and I dont choose these terms metaphorically, something I have written about extensively in under the index category of “Disinformation Campaign.” The kind of people ExxonMobile has funded have not been engaged in responsible scientific skepticism, something that should be encouraged, but disinformation, a matter exhaustively examined in detail in the above referenced articles. Donald Brown

  48. margsview says:

    Well, looks like arrogance wins—Exxon no longer needs the US because it is beyond such needs any more—fine —I think its about time taxpayers take a lesson from Exxon and take a step back from the system of usury as it seems that common concerns such as accountability and honest dealings are irrelevant and now quite a waste of time and effort. Satire?

  49. OH says:

    America is not powerless, we can lead, we can start shaving off percentage points to get to where we need to be. Those who cant make up their mind whether to deny or downplay or deflect should have no say about what to do.

  50. Ben Adam says:

    “WE” didn’t and don’t crave/demand fossil fueled ANYTHING. It was and continues to be foisted upon us, just like every other tool of control. Turns out that it’s profitable, too, I hear.

  51. OH says:

    Or, America could get like we did when we put a man on the moon, or landed on Normandy, we could get serious – of course we would have to pay attention to only serious people. What you advocate is insane and cruel to the next generation, you tinker and toy with their lives.

  52. M Tucker says:

    What is fascinating is Tillerson thinks of humanity and the planet as independent of each other. As if it is one or the other. As if food and water are separate from the need to have a livable planet.

  53. david higham says:

    It is important to realise the fallacy in comment 18 by david conklin .Assuming the flue gases are from burning coal or any other fossil fuel,capturing the CO2 with algae and then allowing it to enter the current carbon cycle later,after the fixed carbon is oxidised back into CO2 via respiration in the animals the algae is fed to,merely delays the entry of fossil carbon into the current carbon cycle.

  54. OH says:

    They actually do not think it will happen. They think they are going to have coffee and chocolate and lord it over everyone the future generations of Americans who are all eating cockroaches.

    But it will, and anyone squeamish will have to look the other way. Interest rates are low, the economy needs stimulus, we could have prosperity and survival!

    If we must have revenge instead, you better believe we will make the most of it.

    I volunteer to hold the squeamish people back from the public torture of the CEOs families.

  55. OH says:

    You mean, you don’t believe the people denying global warming one minute, when the next minute they say its either back to the dark age or let Exxon have their fun with Americas future kids?

  56. Ralph Novy says:

    Filthy pig-dog!

    “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” should be shouted over the wall of his gated community … right before the folks with torches and pitchforks barge in and tar and feather him and his worthless wife but spare the children.

  57. OH says:

    But, Tillerman invented the, invented the, I forget – what did he invent? Corruption? Oh.

  58. OH says:

    Lotta good stocks going up did for Americans. Rates are low, we need stimulus. We did the Ozone thing, the companies said we couldn’t.

  59. OH says:

    You would gamble with your kids future, take away all their chocolate and toys and give them cockroaches to eat – if not death.

  60. OH says:

    Youre wrong, the companies are in all kind of shenanigans to lobby the govt for favors and manipulate the price to postpone action. The fact that Obama beat Romney so bad proves that more Americans want action, we don’t buy anything you villains say.

  61. OH says:

    Convert when you get to Hell.

  62. OH says:

    We can get a few percentage points building windmills, a few points building better batteries, a few points from solar mirror plants, a few points from solar cells, a few points from eating less meat, a few points from skipping the next stupid war. A few more points then from signing a treaty with the world. We can do plenty – let those who never denied say whether we can do.

  63. Superman1 says:

    Donald, there is no question they have supported a disinformation campaign. But, if that campaign were to end today, how different would our actions be toward ameliorating climate change, and what is the evidence on which you base your answer?

  64. Superman1 says:

    Paul, we have seven billion people involved in destroying this biosphere, some much more than others. Nobody’s hands are clean here. And, from what I’m seeing, everybody is more than willing to play along, hope they’re gone before the s*** hits the fan, and willing to let their progeny take the hit.

  65. Superman1 says:

    It is an engineering problem, a science problem, an economic problem, and a sociopolitical problem. What is the solution that will satisfy all those problems simultaneously?

  66. Superman1 says:

    “proves that more Americans want action”. Right. That’s why 0.01% of Americans showed up at the climate rally in February, while 33% watched the Super Bowl, and why millions sat out the election in 2010 and allowed the Deniers to take over the House. But, all you action-oriented types can sure come up with these fire-and-brimstone postings.

  67. JEGlackin says:

    I thought this an Onion report. Might someone ask if humanity would “suffer” if the Earth was destroyed?

  68. Matt says:

    I wonder if Tillerman feels the same way about getting a root canal – why treat the disease if it’s gonna hurt?

    One can only hope, and hope he eats lots of candy. ;)

  69. wake says:

    And if the planet dies humanity won’t suffer? WTF?!

  70. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I hope Polly has a VERY good bodyguard, ME

  71. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    A planet with no biosphere is a planet without man. What value the stores of gold with no people to envy you.

  72. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    So mad a comment that one would normally doubt its veracity, but we are dealing with the upper echelons of the pathocracy, so anything is possible. The alien historians perusing our broadcasts in the long distant future, will find our behaviour quite strange. To confect a system that puts the worst individuals in charge, then allow them to destroy the habitability of the planet for their own species-amazing!

  73. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Tyrannosaurus Rex reckons he’ll be dead by then, so he don’t give a stuff.

  74. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The really crazy thing is that Rex Mundi actually seems to believe that people will fall for the joke that he, or any of his type, actually gives a stuff whether humanity lives or dies.

  75. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    This is really excellent. This is what I have often proposed, not just to use current laws, but to prepare draft laws for the punishment of crimes against life, and have them ready, after popular consultation and refinement, to be enacted when a sane regime takes power somewhere. Universal jurisdiction, restrospectivity and no Statute of Limitations must, I believe, be features. It will, hopefully, get the ecocidists sweating, and might prompt a few defectors to turn ‘State’s Evidence’ and rat on their fellow rodents.

  76. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Your last line is very silly, not to say vicious. Such comments just allow the Right to attack us as ‘extremists’. We need justice, not blind vengeance. That plays in their school-yard, and they are much better at it.

  77. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    True, but how do you ‘reverse the polarity’ and turn the controllers into the controlled and vice versa?

  78. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s a spiritual problem. The dead souls who created capitalism and who are empowered by it, against the living human beings. This is the real Zombie World War.

  79. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As Chomsky observed, when a kleptocrats says ‘Jobs’, he is thinking ‘Profits’.

  80. redrockraven says:

    Exxon’s executives should be charged with crimes against humanity by an international court. There have been some 30,000 people die in the period from 1980 to 2011 due to the world wide increase in weather related disasters. There has been a five fold increase in weather disaster events in the US alone. Perhaps that will get their attention. See the following article for evidence:

  81. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I like ‘coprorations’. It adds a certain faecal quality to the concept. Coprorations full of coprophages, led by coproliths.

  82. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sage advice. As he is paid by the word, a penny at a time, there is no need to feed his need for attention and his wallet at the same time. Mr 5000 Shades of Grey, had better be left to play by, and with, himself.

  83. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Has anyone seen a direct quote for this lunacy? Otherwise I fear that we may have been sold a pup.

  84. Whitney says:

    Aren’t corporations people too?

  85. Tom Wood says:

    I guess humanity won’t suffer if we don’t save the planet.

  86. morgansher says:

    Humanity is already suffering because of the impact of extractive plundering of oil and other resources.

  87. Jesse says:

    I found a local source for it here in Dallas reprinting an AP article:

  88. AC says:

    What good is it to rape the planet if humanity suffers?

    We can do without petrochemicals far better than we do without edible food, breathable air, and drinkable water.

    Stop poisoning out biosphere, you stupid, greedy, amoral, shortsighted, sociopaths – before you kill us all.

  89. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    No-that was the whole country that he was alluding to. Now it’s the planet, and tomorrow….the Universe!

  90. Carolyn says:

    We have met the enemy and it is us. Greed will be the end of us. God help us because we cannot help ourselves.

  91. Gus says:

    There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today.

  92. Doug Grandt says:

    Thanks, Joe and Ryan, for getting this out broadly and quickly. Soon as I saw your post, I googled and found The Globe and Mail’s which was the only article with supplemental information. I was incensed and wrote which expresses my reaction (not to repeat it all here).

    Polly Higgins has been the primary inspiration in my letter writing campaign, and the basis for my hope that Rex might have a “change of heart” are Polly’s two synergistic campaigns:

    I believe that influential people like Rex Tillerson need a compelling reason that makes them see that being “Charles Grant” is the only option for their social and financial survival. For them, it’s not about “heart.”

    Having the “stick” like “Ecocide: The Missing 5th Crime Against Peace” in place would “have his back” so he could say, “No! No more! I could go to jail if we continue these destructive practices. We must shift our focus and spending from hydrocarbons to renewables.” It may not be a true “change of heart” that would cause Tillerson to steer ExxonMobil to a new paradigm, to reinvent ExxonMobil as an “energy company’ — much more that just an oil company — but a realization that his personal and financial survival depend on new corporate behavior in the face of an impending carbon bubble burst imposed by the will of the global community. (Rex has to believe and fear that we will really decide to leave the tarsands and most of the proven conventional reserves in the ground.)

    Coupled with Polly’s campaigns, I believe that now is the time for an SEC lawsuit charging the CEO, Chairman and Board with failure to exercise Fiduciary Duty to protect the interests of ExxonMobil shareholders, as well as the health and stability the U.S. and global economies, and the wellbeing of humanity at large. We need a team of expert SEC attorneys.

    The goal? 1) Force a shift in capital project investments from expanding the carbon infrastructure to expanding available innovating renewable energy technology, quickly. 2) Prevent superannuation funds (pensions), endowments, foundations, insurance, etc. portfolios invested in carbon securities from collapsing when the carbon bubble bursts. 3) Prevent market panic selling in response to declining prices of oil, coal and gas stocks. 4) Manage the transition with minimal noticeable economic impact. (Perhaps I am naive to think it is manageable.)

    In view of Congress’ presumed continued stalemate and inability to quickly pass and implement effective carbon fee legislation, we need to create a ‘de facto’ tax in other ways — to achieve the same result (CO2 reduction). Compelling Rex and his colleagues to retire refineries and coal plants, one-by-one, methodically, steadily over the next 2-3 decades would result in a ‘de facto’ carbon fee. How? By allocating the costs to dismantle and clean up toxic facilities over the reduced production. The ‘de facto’ surcharge would simulate a gradually rising carbon fee. If Congress can’t do it, let’s make Rex Tillerson do it. Nudge Congress.

    Giving Rex compelling motivation to start the ball rolling would be a first concrete step.

  93. dirtydudley says:

    I heard a “This American Life” about climate change wherein a man wrote that global warming lacks an enemy to galvanize a movement against. Exxon sits on enough oil reserves to single handedly keep carbon emissions beyond the thresholds necessary to arrest climate change. On top of that they say things like this? Force your college, workplace, and stock portfolio to divest of all exxon stock.

  94. Joan Savage says:

    Did you look at a profile of major shareholders? Since each share of stock is a vote, we can see that the CEOs stocks, though prodigious, are dwarfed by institutional and mutual fund ownerships in XON.

  95. Raul M. says:


  96. Joan Savage says:

    US corporation law typically is utterly cynical in requiring that a company’s officers turn a profit for the company’s owners.

    Fortunately for the sake of the future, some states have legislated new benefit-corporation laws (B-corps) which allow stockholders to require that the company they own fulfill some charitable or public benefit, even if it lessens the profit margin of the company.

    A very progressive long-term goal would be to require all corporations to have an explicit B-corp component that states the company’s effects on the environment, labor conditions and other consequences, besides turning a profit. The new UN document calls for a version of such a statement. (See CPs May 31 News feature.)

  97. John Royall says:

    Stockholders vote the number of shares they have. So was it three quarters of the stockholders who voted against the resolutions, or was it three quarters of the shares of stock that voted against the resolutions? It could be that the 25% dissenting shares were all that the management didn’t control. At least the management cannot claim a unanimous vote.

  98. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I believe that you are quite correct. The denialist industry has unlimited funds to study the best means to manipulate the popular mass, to avert individual and social consciousness rising and becoming a threat to their ‘Precious’, their trillions in fossil fuel assets. This branch of denialism has been carefully nurtured, starting with the ‘adaptation’ canard, which made climate destabilisation, formerly a lie and a conspiracy by evil Commos, suddenly real, but bearable, in the interests of the rich man’s profits. Then we got the ‘it is too expensive…Draconian sacrifices…it will hit the poor (as if the Right ever gave a stuff whether the poor live or die!)’ balderdash, and now the anomic, nihilistic defeatism of ‘It’s too late, and there is nothing you can do, and it is all your fault, you greedy plebs, not that of the Bosses’ who actually run the planet’ narrative, inflicted with that advertising industry standard technique of relentless repetition (only taken to annoying extremes, although that, too, might be carefully calibrated).

  99. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Thank-you, Jesse. At least it’s not a set-up. He is bonkers!

  100. Mulga Mumblebrain says:


  101. Solar Jim says:

    That would be the first principal of the founding of the USA.

  102. Solar Jim says:

    All oil companies, along with other power centered social vehicles, are creations of the state. It’s the carbonic acid policy. After all, what would mechanized warfare be without fossil (and fissile) power?

    All hail the nation-state of 1984.

  103. Solar Jim says:

    It is much bigger than greed. Nation-states derive their mechanized war-making power from fossil and fissile (uranium/plutonium) substances. They go boom: they’re explosives and their “delivery system.”

  104. Merrelyn Emery says:

    So who is buying all those solars and EVs? Those devilish little Martians? ME

  105. fj says:

    Yes. Absolutely. The fossil fuel industry is the major economic and energy drain on global civilization.

  106. fj says:

    “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” is on par with the historic clueless Marie Antoinette line “Let them eat cake,” when informed that the people had no bread before the French Revolution.

  107. fj says:

    Equivalent to a big tobacco position on denying children cigarettes, “What good is life if you can’t have fun smoking?”

  108. Wolfe says:

    “EIA, IEA, and other industry reports” don’t have carbon emissions falling. Perhaps that’s because they reflect business and policy, they do not create it. We can go that way, and BAU does. But we can also go another way. I mean, according to the rules Superman1 uses, there was no way to defeat Nazi Germany, get out of the depression, or leave the early industrial / coal age. (after all, who would drill blindly for oil when coal was on the surface or visible in mines?!)

    But more importantly, I would like to counter Rex’s quote (“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”) with “What good is it to save the oil companies if humanity suffers?” (Wolfe) Rex is equating the oil company’s suffering with humanity’s suffering. Believe me, humanity’s suffering will be FAR less (whatever it may be) if we make the oil companies suffer.

  109. Bob Aegerter says:

    The Exxon executive does not understand how the world works! When a species exceeded the ability of it’s environment to support it the species goes extinct.

    This is about saving the humans.

  110. fj says:

    Fossil fuel people like Tillerson in positions of extreme power are terribly blinded by their inner demons Predation, Dominance, Ideology . . . caring nothing about the horrific suffering they are causing and their crimes against humanity and all living things.

  111. fj says:

    People of this ilk are at the true epicenter of the structural violence of our civilization fighting us all the way . . . as we must strive to advance to a much more positive state under the rule of law, with fairness, and justice for all intrinsic to our Bill of Rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  112. fj says:

    . . . the price we continue to pay for feeding at their trough is far from worth it.

  113. J4Zonian says:

    “Tillerson missed the billions of dollars in damages, thousands of lives lost, millions displaced, and rampant ecological destruction due to the carbon emissions that cause climate change.”

    And Ryan and Joe missed the real numbers: 130 millions slaves in the world now, an equal or greater number of climate refugees, now; and 5 years ago, 65,000 people a year dead from climate. The world has kicked over into the start of a new Earth, what Bill McKibben calls Eaarth, with more extreme storms. droughts, floods and fires as the norm. All those numbers of people suffering have increased, and will continue to.