Tag Archives: Senate confirmation

Exxon’s Chairman to Lead Us to a Clean-Energy Future?


We didn’t think so either. So we’ve written every member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Dear Senator:

God’s world is in danger from our addiction to fossil fuels. And so I thank you in advance for your leadership in solving the climate crisis we are causing. I ask that you please subject Rex Tillerson, the Chairman of oil giant ExxonMobil, to the most rigorous questioning on his plans to address climate change, and his plans for leadership in strengthening the Paris Accord and raising our levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Please find from him what he believes about the impact of burning all remaining proved reserves of energy companies; what percentage of reserves can be burned while keeping the climate below 2 degrees of warming; what would be the impact on ExxonMobil if only that percentage of its reserves could be produced.

(Spoiler alert: Only about 20 percent of proved reserves can be produced without tipping the world into runaway overheating. Exxon has $800 billion of proved reserves in the ground today. If they had to leave all but 20% of those reserves in the ground, that would be a write-off of $460 billion, or around three times their total net worth, and 20 years’ worth of income.)

In light of this, would you please find out why Mr. Tillerson has continued spending $23 million per year at Exxon to find yet more un-producible oil and gas?

In the end, it seems impossible to me that the world’s leading oil man could lead the transition to a survivable climate, but I would encourage you to lead the charge in finding this out.

Sincerely, …


If you want to write or call, here are the members of the committee, with links to their contact information. Check that: Please, write or call! Feel free to cut and paste this letter!



Time for the Senate to Vote on EPA’s Gina McCarthy

On March 4, 2013, President Obama nominated Gina McCarthy to be the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Gina McCarthy, the President's nominee to lead the EPA

Gina McCarthy, the President’s nominee to lead the EPA

I remember that day well. The day before had been the 150th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences, and I had celebrated the event by featuring one of their authoritative pieces on climate science. Ms. McCarthy’s nomination the following day was another reason for celebration: a widely acclaimed environmental leader with a strong record of fairness, and public support from across the spectrum. I felt sure that prompt Senate action would give our country some excellent environmental oversight.

That was 100 days ago. Whatever has happened to Gina McCarthy?

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