Exxon CEO: ‘What Good Is It To Save The Planet If Humanity Suffers?’

Written by Ryan Koronowski, Joe Romm

At Wednesday’s meeting for ExxonMobil shareholders in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson told those assembled that an economy that runs on oil is here to stay, and cutting carbon emissions would do no good.

He asked, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

One good would be that humanity has a habitable place to live. And in acting to stop the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change, we could avoid a great deal of suffering. Tillerson missed the billions of dollars in damages, thousands of lives lost, millions displaced, and rampant ecological destruction due to the carbon emissions that cause climate change.

Exxon does not see carbon emissions falling significantly until 2040. Staying on this path will mean more suffering: heat waves, conflict, food insecurity, Dust Bowl-like drought, extreme flooding, sea level rise, increasingly destructive storms, and worsening refugee crises.

A Carbon Disclosure Project Report noted that “ExxonMobil noted that the company’s ‘operations around the world include remote and offshore areas that present challenges from existing climate extremes and storms. These severe weather events may disrupt supplies or interrupt the operations of ExxonMobil facilities.’ ” Even so, A 2011 study found that “9 out of 10 top climate change deniers [were] linked with Exxon Mobil.”

So what Tillerson probably meant to ask shareholders yesterday was “What good is it to save humanity if profits suffer?” Last year he had told the Council on Foreign Relations about the “manageable” risks of climate change: ”As a species that’s why we’re all still here: we have spent our entire existence adapting. So we will adapt to this. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.”

The beauty of this approach is that Exxon makes money on both ends — they get to sell all their climate-destroying fossil fuels, and then, no doubt, they will sell their engineering skills dealing with the ever-worsening climate extremes. Now that’s win-win.

For the seventh time, almost three-quarters of Exxon shareholders voted down a resolution that would require the company to set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from using Exxon products. Shareholders also rejected a resolution that would ban discrimination against gays.

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


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Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Mark Donners
Mark Donners2 years ago

When the earth is destroyed from his actions, the punishment for this Exxon terrorist Rex Tillerson will not stop with death. He will have tar and oil endlessly stuffed down his greedy gullet for eternity.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak2 years ago

Global warming will not make the earth uninhabitable. The ice will melt at the poles. The ocean will rise. Desserts will increase in size. Coastal areas will flood. BILLIONS of people will die. But, Mother does not care. She'll keep on keeping on. The few millions of humans left will go back to being organic farmers in scattered villages. Then thousands of years into the future, when humanity "recovers" for the failed capitalistic experiment of the 19th thru 21st centuries there will be a civilization formed that has HUMAN kindness at it's core, not greed.

Jeffrey Clark
Jeffrey Clark2 years ago

The only good thing is that when climate change makes the world completely uninhabitable, all the wealth in the world won't help him or the offspring he has to explain his actions to.

Ernie Miller
william Miller2 years ago

Wow what a company.

Anne F.
Anne F.2 years ago

its becoming clearer that the MenInCharge don't have our best interests at heart

Beverly M.
Beverly M.2 years ago

Rich and stupid ~ I guess being a heartless a** is the ticket to the top.

Sandy Castro
Sandy Castro2 years ago

Wait and see how long he lasts as CEO...

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson2 years ago

good grief. what a moron.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M.2 years ago

Ahh- what does a wealthy care about? Profits of course. How callous is he!