What Did Exxon Do in the EU?

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ExxonMobil is an American oil giant known for having funded American climate science disinformation campaigns. Exxon also has operations in Europe – it lobbies in Europe and it has helped fund think tanks here too – but no one is talking about it.

Last September, Inside Climate News revealed that ExxonMobil knew about the impacts of manmade climate change in the 1970s’ and ‘80s yet went on to fund numerous climate denial efforts.

This prompted the New York Attorney General to subpoena ExxonMobil to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.” This same thing is now being done in California as well.

Inside Climate News’ revelations tell us what Exxon knew. The investigations in New York and California are asking ‘what did Exxon do?’

So, while the oil giant has been getting a lot of heat in the U.S. for funding climate denial, this DeSmog UK investigation takes these questions across the Atlantic, and asks: what has ExxonMobil been up to in Europe?

In January we revealed that ExxonMobil has spent at least £5.6m ($8.08 million) on lobbying the European Commission and in donations to European universities and organisations in 2014 according to the most recent figures available.

But what about climate sceptic think tanks?

In 2007, the oil giant pledged to stop funding climate denial groups in response to pressure from shareholder activists. However, eight years later the company was found to have given more than $2.3m (£1.7m) to an American lobbying group and members of Congress that deny climate change and block efforts to tackle the issue.
 
It begs the question: has ExxonMobil been up to the same tricks in Europe?
 
The last time a full analysis of Exxon’s ties to European climate denial think tanks was done was in 2006 by Corporate Europe Observatory, the year before Exxon pledged to stop funding such groups.
 
Next week DeSmog UK will launch the beginning of its investigation into Exxon’s European think tank ties over the past 10 years. So stay tuned as we answer ‘what did Exxon do in the EU?’
 

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Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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