Today’s CNN Money column looks at how ExxonMobil is opening up to its critics and changing the way it talks about climate change. Exxon, you probably know, led the opposition to the Kyoto protocol in the late 1990s. Since then it has funded advocacy groups that challenge and obfuscate climate science–much to the dismay of environmentalists, CSR groups and socially-responsible investors. Now Exxon seems to be acknowledging that climate change is a serious threat, and that a government response is required.
How deep or significant the changes are, it’s hard to say. My sense is that Exxon recognizes that Washington is getting serious about regulating greenhouse gases, and the company wants to make sure its voice is heard. In that sense, this story is one more indication that the push to do something about global warming is finally gathering momentum. It’s been the issue at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Here’s how the column begins:
On issues ranging from global warming to corporate governance to gay rights, Exxon Mobil used to ignore detractors – or thumb its nose at them.
That’s changed. The oil giant has been quietly reaching out to critics, most importantly around the issue of climate change.
Exxon invited environmentalists, socially responsible mutual funds and religious investors to a two-day retreat in suburban Virginia late last year with company executives. It is participating in a project organized by Resources for the Future, a Washington-based environmental think tank, that will design a government plan for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases.
You can read the rest here.