ExxonMobilWatch: No, Duh

Today, we bring you a Homeric simile: Just as the Catholic Church in 1992 conceded that Galileo was indeed correct when he said that the earth revolved around the sun, just so ExxonMobil now proclaims that global warming is real.

This change of tune, we learned from a Houston Chronicle piece, is courtesy of Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s new CEO, who took over for former CEO Lee Raymond last year. Raymond’s global warming strategy seemed to be “deny, deny, deny”, a tactic Tillerson quickly realized would not quite cut it, given the current (both figurative and literal) climate:

"They certainly have mellowed somewhat," said Art Smith, chairman and CEO of John S. Herold, an energy research and consulting firm. "They took a pretty hard stance that everyone else was wrong about this."

Chris Miller, a global warming campaigner for Greenpeace, said Exxon had little choice but to embrace climate change as genuine because too much scientific data exists for the company to credibly say otherwise.

"It just became too difficult for them to say that with a straight face given everything we know," Miller said. "They are finessing this position, and they have done so since Tillerson took over."

While it’s true that this is a step in the right direction (and we’re not sure how much more of a wrong direction it would have been possible for ExxonMobil to step in) it’s, uh, a little late. Let’s hope they make up for lost time by putting their (heaps and heaps of) money where their mouth is.