Business, Economics and Jobs

Climate change isn't a big deal, Exxon CEO announces


Exxon Mobile CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson testifies before a full Senate Finance Committee hearing on 'Oil and Gas Tax Incentives and Rising Energy Prices' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011.



It should come as no surprise that the CEO of ExxonMobil downplayed fears about natural gas drilling and climate change in a recent speech. CEO Rex Tillerson said that fears about natural gas drilling and "fracking" are overblown. He blamed the fears about fracking on "lazy" journalists and said the natural gas industry's biggest challenge is "taking an illiterate public and try to help them understand why we can manage these risks," the Associated Press reported.

Tillerson did at least acknowledge that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, which is a change from the previous Exxon CEO, the AP reported. However, Tillerson was confident that "we'll adapt" to the change. 

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"The fear factor that people want to throw out there to say 'We just have to stop this,' I do not accept," he said, Reuters reported

Tillerson also insisted that the company is making "no money" on US natural gas due to low prices, the Wall Street Journal reported. The comments come as Exxon is exploring the possibility of exporting natural gas from the US.

Environmental groups and scientists are concerned about "fracking" for natural gas in part because some companies, including Exxon, have been reluctant to disclose the chemicals they use in their fracking fluid, which may contaminate drinking water, ProPublica reported.  In April, the New York Times reported that Exxon has pushed for legislation about fracking fluid disclosure that has major loopholes. The Exxon-backed legislation would have easily allowed companies to keep the contents of their fracking fluid under wraps if they were deemed "trade secrets," the Times said.