Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

"For decades, ExxonMobil has contributed to national confusion, setting up fake debates on science and causing national paralysis in the face of a serious crisis." (Photo: stopfundingfossils/flickr/cc)

Heat Building on Exxon as Multiple Probes Explore Climate Cover-Up

'We need to get to the bottom of this,' says Moms Clean Air Force upon delivery of 360,000 petitions to Justice Department

Deirdre Fulton

As the world gets hotter, climate activists are turning up the heat on ExxonMobil, the big oil giant they say bears responsibility not only for the ever-worsening climate crisis, but for perpetuating the "most consequential lie in human history."

Amid a growing push for the corporation to be held accountable for its climate crimes, a coalition of activists was in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to deliver 360,000 petitions demanding a Department of Justice probe into what ExxonMobil knew about global warming—and how far it went to cover up its role in the phenomenon. This appeal comes on top of calls for a Congressional inquiry and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

"Over the course of nearly forty years, the company has contributed millions of dollars to think-tanks and politicians that have done their best to spread doubt and misinformation—first on the existence of climate change, then the extent of the problem, and now its cause," reads the petition, circulated by groups including 350.org, CREDO, and Climate Parents. "If Exxon intentionally misled the public about climate change and fossil fuels, then they should be held accountable."

Dominique Browning, senior director of Moms Clean Air Force, said: "For decades, ExxonMobil has contributed to national confusion, setting up fake debates on science and causing national paralysis in the face of a serious crisis. The result? Misinformed citizens, misinformed politicians, misinformed editors and reporters—unable to properly steer our democracy. We are in the race of our lives, and we should all be very angry, and very concerned. We need to get to the bottom of this."

The petition delivery comes on the heels of a high-profile open letter calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to follow the "remarkable roadmap to this corporation’s potential misconduct," provided by reporting in the LA Times and Inside Climate News. It was that reporting that led 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben to hold a one-man civil disobedience action that drew public attention to the scandal. A similar one-man action was held Wednesday night.

On a press call Thursday, McKibben pointed to new NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data showing that last month was the hottest October on record. In turn, he said, it's "time to turn up the heat on Exxon."

And it is but one prong in an attack that's coming from multiple sides—and has multiple targets. Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are reportedly circulating a letter among their colleagues seeking to know if other oil, gas, or coal companies have a similar history.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is currently looking into the scandal, and just this week the Center for Media and Democracy submitted evidence showing how ExxonMobil specifically promoted climate change denial through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

What's more, on Thursday's press call, Rep. Lieu highlighted a separate effort asking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate Exxon Mobil's financial disclosures.

"Securities laws are very clear...corporations can lie, but they cannot lie on their security filings," he said.

"At the very least," Lieu added, by failing to disclose climate risks in reports to financial regulators and investors, "ExxonMobil has violated U.S. security laws for years."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Number of Covid Boosters Given in US Exceeds Single Shots in 8 African Nations Combined

"Our leaders' failure to help bring the vaccines to everyone, everywhere will keep us on a cruel and never-ending cycle of illness, death, and economic suffering."

Jake Johnson ·


Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·


Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·


'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo