108 civil society groups raise industry conflict of interest alarms relating to IPCC special report authors

Daniel Cayley-Daoust
3 years ago

Photo from Carbon Brief

Last week, the Council of Canadians signed a joint letter to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair and the IPCC Bureau that expresses deep concern that senior employees of two major oil companies (ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco) are among the authors for the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The letter goes on to explain that industry interests should not be part of these processes notably because of the historical role, notably through lobbying, that said petroleum industry has had in undermining action on climate.

ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco are the 2nd and 3rd largest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide, and have contributed to the promotion and development of inefficient pathways to greenhouse gas reduction through geoengineering proposals such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), thus undermining other legitimate GHG reduction and undermining climate action.

Exxon holds the most patents related to CCS and other sequestration methods of any company, and on its website, publicly declares an interest in one quarter of existing global CCS facilities. This creates a strong financial interest for the author employed by Exxon to favourably promote certain technological pathways to 1.5°C.

Their presence represents a clear and present conflict of interest that should be addressed directly through the IPCC’s own processes. The climate crisis is real and any attempt to undermine collective action by Big Oil should be preemptively stopped out early on in an effort to maintain credibility and scientific rigor.

Read the full letter and the complete list of signatories.