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New Campaign targets the fossil fuel industry: Exxon Hates Your Children

December 6, 2012

This article by Jon Queally is re-posted from Common Dreams.

As international climate negotiations in Doha stumble towards what many observers predict will be uninspiring agreements not nearly adequate to meet the urgent need to reduce global emissions, environmental campaigners in the US—led mostly by students—have taken new steps in forging a broad-based assault on what they see as the most powerful enemy when it comes to preventing the dangerous impacts of human-caused global warming and climate change.

The target? The fossil fuel companies themselves.exxon_hates

Fueled by a nearly month-long national bus tour by the group 350.org, college divestment campaigns have sprung up all over the US with student groups calling on university leaders to pull their financial investments out from oil, coal, and gas companies that profit from the exact activities that scientists have shown are warming the planet at an alarming rate.

“We’ve felt serious momentum along this transcontinental roadshow—but the numbers of full-on divestment campaigns got larger faster than we could have dreamed,” said 350 co-founder Bill McKibben. “A year notable for ice-melt, parched crops, and superstorms is going out with a different kind of bang: an explosion in activism, aimed squarely at the rogue fossil fuel industry.”

Meanwhile, advocacy groups Oil Change International and the Other 98% have teamed up to launch a public relations campaign of its own designed to put the fossil fuel corporations in their proper context.

Not mincing words, the group set up a website called Exxonhatesyourchildren.com and released this video:

Oil companies hate your children

The new campaign by Oil Change International and the Other 98% says that if you judge Exxon and other fossil fuel companies not by the rhetoric of their finely-polished TV ads, but by their actions and predictable consequences, it is easy to conclude that they “hate your children.”

Claiming the “facts speak for themselves,” the campaign asks the US public to consider the following:

1. Exxon must hate your children because their business model depends on drilling for more and more of the fuels that cause climate disruption, even though fossil fuel companies have already discovered significantly more oil, gas and coal than scientists say we can safely burn. They are creating climate chaos every day — and they’re getting rich doing it.
Even the International Energy Agency now agrees that in order to have even chances of limiting global warming to just 2 degrees Celsius (beyond which the worst impacts of warming will kick in), two-thirds of the current proven reserves of fossil fuels must remain in the ground by 2050.

2. Exxon must hate your children because, for years, they spent millions funding a coordinated campaign to create confusion about climate science, which slowed the move towards a more sustainable future. Now Exxon (finally) admits that climate change is a problem, but…

  • They say they can’t predict what will happen, and
  • Therefore they will continue business as usual.

3.
In June 2012, Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to “adapt”. Tillerson blamed a public that is “illiterate” in science and math, a “lazy” press, and advocacy groups that “manufacture fear” for misconceptions around the oil and gas industry.

4.Exxon must hate your children because they and other fossil fuel companies send campaign contributions to candidates for Congress, and in turn, they get massive subsidies…at the expense of more important causes. For every one dollar Big Oil spends on political contributions, they get $59 back in subsidies — a 5800% rate of return. Meanwhile, they make record profits — in 2011, just the 5 biggest oil companies alone (including Exxon) made roughly $135 billion in profits. The at least $10 billion annually in our tax dollars that goes to supporting these rich fossil fuel companies should instead go to building a safe future for all our children.

5.Exxon must hate your children because climate change threatens the future of all of our children, and they seem to just ignore it. Even before Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States, we were witnessing climate impacts on a daily basis, and they’re only getting worse. Just this summer, we’ve seen drought engulf the breadbasket of America. We’ve seen freak storms ravage the Midwest and east coast. All of these impacts are consistent with scientific predictions of climate change. Yet Exxon continues drilling and funding Congressional campaigns, in order to get more subsidies to feed their addiction to their climate-destroying profits.

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