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The Wall Street Journal: Exxon CEO disavows comments by lobbyists dismissing oil giant’s climate stance

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Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Darren Woods apologized and disavowed statements made by two of the company’s top Washington lobbyists after an environmental group released a video recording of them dismissing its public positions on climate change.

In a recording with a representative for Greenpeace, which tricked the lobbyists into believing they were conducting video interviews with a recruiter, Keith McCoy, Exxon’s
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senior director of federal relations, called the company’s support for a carbon tax to help address climate change an “easy talking point” because it is a policy unlikely to ever be implemented.

“Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans,” McCoy said in a video of the interview that Greenpeace posted online Wednesday. “And the cynical side of me says yeah we kind of know that. But it gives us a talking point. We can say well what is Exxon Mobil for? Well we’re for a carbon tax.”

McCoy also said he had been “playing defense” by working to strip out certain provisions aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the massive infrastructure package proposed by President Joe Biden. Exxon was seeking to water down the legislation by lobbying key lawmakers in both parties, such as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, he said.

In addition, McCoy appeared to say that Exxon had previously supported groups that attempted to discredit climate-change research, though he didn’t provide specifics, and added that Exxon didn’t commit any crimes.

Hours after the group posted the video, Woods issued a statement saying that the views expressed don’t represent Exxon’s position on climate-change issues and that the men were never involved in developing the company’s policy positions on the issues discussed.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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