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“We’re not suggesting anyone needs to do anything”

Plus: Californiactions at Climate Week


Some guy who partied at French Laundry during the pandemic lockdown and California Attorney Rob Bonta discuss the state’s climate lawsuit at Climate Week NYC on Sunday. Credit: Dana Drugmand

The state of California just launched a game-changing climate lawsuit against oil majors, bringing the weight of one of the world’s largest economies and the most populous state in the nation to bear against some of the biggest fossil fuel companies on earth,” the always excellent Emily Sanders writes.

The lawsuit, California v. ExxonMobil et al., charges Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and the American Petroleum Institute with decades of deception that reach back to the 1960s.

“For more than 50 years, Big Oil has been lying to us — covering up the fact that they’ve long known how dangerous the fossil fuels they produce are for our planet,” Gov. Gavin “GOB” Newsom (D-Calif.) said Friday.

Yesterday, Newsom met with Gov. Wes Moore (D-Md.) at Climate Week NYC, recommending his state follow suit.

And Newsom also promised to sign landmark climate legislation passed last week by the California legislature. The Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act (SB 253) and Climate-Related Financial Risk Act (SB 261) mandates all major corporations disclose their carbon pollution and climate-related risk starting in 2026. As U.S. Senators like Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) browbeat the Securities Exchange Commission into slow-walking climate disclosure rules, California’s new law will fill the gap.

California’s actions come on the heels of another searing disclosure of ExxonMobil internal climate-deception documents, this time by the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Matthews and Collin Eaton, during the tenure of CEO Rex Tillerson, who later became Trump’s Secretary of State:

They show that Tillerson, as well as some of Exxon’s board directors and other top executives, sought to cast doubt on the severity of climate change’s impacts. Exxon scientists supported research that questioned the findings of mainstream climate science, even after the company said it would stop funding think tanks and others that promoted climate-change denial.

If you prefer, you can read Arianna Skibell’s take on California’s lawsuit against ExxonMobil in the Politico Power Switch newsletter, Presented by ExxonMobil. Don’t worry, the newsletter presents both the lawsuit and the viewpoint from the defendant American Petroleum Institute, as well as a new round of deceptive greenwashing from ExxonMobil:

Unlike our fossil-fueled competitors, Hill Heat is a reader-supported publication. To support this work, please chip in with a paid subscription today.

The Biden administration is bringing real all-of-the-above energy to Climate Week NYC today, with Willow Project approver Tommy Beaudreau from the Department of Interior, Council on Environmental Quality chair Brenda Mallory, Treasury’s Inflation Reduction Act implementer Laurel Blatchford,1 and climate advisors John Podesta and Ali Zaidi at a Climate Group confab on clean energy permitting this morning.

Although President Joe Biden is addressing the United Nations General Assembly today, he won’t be attending tomorrow’s Climate Ambition Summit organized by Secretary-General António Guterres, where governments are being asked to present new 2030 pollution targets and climate fund pledges.

Timed for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s attendance at a Bloomberg climate finance forum today in New York, the U.S. Treasury has released its new Principles for Net-Zero Financing & Investment. The guidelines ask financial institutions to make commitments “in line with limiting the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5°C,” because: “Climate change is a shared, global, and existential challenge that poses a severe risk to the productive capacity of the economy and requires an economy-wide response to safeguard U.S. economic growth and energy security.”

Well, that seems like a call to action!

However, on a briefing call with reporters2, Treasury officials emphasized the voluntary nature of this document:

“We’re not suggesting anyone needs to do anything.”

You can read more about Treasury’s net-zero guidance from Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman in the Axios Generate newsletter, PRESENTED BY ENBRIDGE, the tar-sands and fracking pipeline giant:

Seriously, it’s insanely bad how the leading DC “climate” newsletters are propaganda-spewing Big Oil organs. Help fight back by keeping Hill Heat 100% reader-supported.

This morning, there are three House committee hearings attacking specific Biden climate policies: the Marine Sanctuary and Monument System, which protects vulnerable ocean waters from drilling and overfishing; the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed strengthening of the PM2.5 soot pollution rule; and the administration’s management of the federal onshore oil and gas program.

Also in the morning, House Transportation subcommittee chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) is holding a hearing with Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Deanne Criswell. The White House is seeking $12 billion in supplemental disaster relief in the wake of the most economically damaging year ever for climate disasters.

While the Senate Judiciary hearing on corporate manipulation of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is focusing on Johnson & Johnson’s “Texas two-step” attempt to limit liability for asbestos in its baby powder, deliberate misuse of bankruptcy is rife in the fossil-fuel sector to evade accountability as well.

In the afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosts its Member Day for legislators to recommend policy priorities (i.e., earmarks), and the House Natural Resources federal lands subcommittee is holding a hearing to get testimony on bipartisan bills to improve access to public lands and deal with DC’s derelict RFK Stadium.

Climate activists with Extinction Rebellion Boston took over the Massachusetts State House for a game of basketball, demanding Governor Maura Healey “stop playing games” with their future. They then occupied the Governor’s Constituents office for two hours until nine arrests were made.

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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1 As ExxonMobil’s propaganda in Politico Power Switch Presented by ExxonMobil and Enbridge’s propaganda in Axios Generate PRESENTED BY ENBRIDGE today hint, the IRA’s tax credits for carbon capture and hydrogen projects are huge subsidies for the oil majors. I know I’ve brought this up before, but seriously, if you can swing it, please subscribe at $10 a month or $100 a year.`

2 Reported this morning by Politico Pro’s Jordan Wolman. You can get Politico Pro sent to your inbox for only a few thousand dollars a year.

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