It is an indicator of the power of the state that most CEO's of public companies feel the need to pay lip service to every politically correct trend that comes along and to engage in outright sycophancy every time they meet with politicians. The reason, unfortunately, is that morons like Maxine Waters have been granted nearly unlimited powers over commerce. Some CEOs unfortunately go even further, going beyond just humoring politicians to play the game themselves, engaging in outright rent-seeking for themselves and their shareholders.
So it is in this context that it is nice to see the CEO of Exxon-Mobil continuing in that company's traditions of not rolling over to populist political pressure:
Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp.,
the world's largest oil-and-gas company, came out swinging Wednesday
against the environmental movement, arguing the science of climate
change is far from settled and that his company views it as its
"corporate social responsibility" to continue to supply the world with
Avoiding the political correctness that many oil executives are now
showing on global warming, Mr. Tillerson called for a continuation of
the debate, rather than acceptance that it is occurring, with the
potential consequence that governments will implement policies that put
world economies at risk.
"My view is that this is so extraordinarily important to people the
world over, that to not have a debate on it is irresponsible," he said.
"To suggest that we know everything we need to know about these issues
"And I will take all the criticism that comes with it. Anybody that
tells you that they got this figured out is not being truthful. There
are too many complexities around climate science for anybody to fully
understand all of the causes and effects and consequences of what you
may chose to do to attempt to affect that. We have to let scientists to
continue their investigative work, unencumbered by political
influences. This is too important to be cute with it."
Mr. Tillerson said Exxon Mobil, despite its reputation as a staunch
climate change denier, is in fact close to the issue as the only oil
company that is a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change.
Exxon Mobil came under repeated attack during the rowdy meeting for
not showing leadership to combat global warming, with some arguing it
is putting shareholders' capital at risk by not moving into greener
Among the many critics who stood up in the city's Morton H. Meyerson
Symphony Centre, where the meeting was held, was Neva Rockefeller
Goodwin, the great-granddaughtger of John D. Rockefeller, who founded
Exxon's predecessor 125 years ago.
But her proposal to have Exxon Mobil prepare a report on the impact
of climate change on emerging countries and to embrace greener energy
was backed by only 10.4% of shareholders.
The Exxon shareholder meeting is a zoo. LIttle serious work gets done. There are about a zillion people who buy one share of stock so they can show up and flog whatever political hobby horse they have. I do wish I had been there, though, so that in response to Ms. Goodwin's proposal I could have in turn asked for a report on how alarmist-proposed 80% reductions in fossil fuel consumption would have impacted poverty and progress in developing countries.
A while back I had observed that Wal-Mart had passed Exxon as the left's #1 Satan. It is good to see Exxon back on top.