Sanders wants big oil CEOs to testify at Senate climate hearing

“These companies are producing a significant percentage of the carbon that we use, which is destroying our planet, and we want to know what they are doing to transform their companies away from fossil fuel.”

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Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has invited top fossil fuel execs to participate in next week’s Senate climate hearing titled “The Cost of Inaction on Climate Change.”

According to CBS News, BP America Chairman and President David C. Lawler, Chevron CEO and Chairman Michael Wirth and ExxonMobil Chair and CEO Darren W. Woods were invited. Lawler I’ve already declined the request and declined to comment. 

By declining the offer, Sanders says, “it tells [him] these guys don’t want to answer tough questions. These companies are producing a significant percentage of the carbon that we use, which is destroying our planet, and we want to know what they are doing to transform their companies away from fossil fuel.”

As Common Dreams Reports, Sanders noted the long history of fossil fuel corporations—some of which have known about the link between their products and climate change for decades—lying to the public about the dangers of oil, gas, and coal. He called their deception “one of the scandals of our lifetime.”

In 2019, the independent research organization Climate Accountability Institute ranked the world’s leading oil, gas, and coal companies and their collective carbon emissions dating back to 1965. They found that 20 international companies accounted for more than a third of all global emissions in that span. In that group of 20, Chevron was the leading investor-owned company, with ExxonMobil and BP close behind, CBS News report states. 

The burning of these fossil fuels for electricity, heating, and transportation, is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. These emissions are also the primary factor for our current climate crisis. 

Despite the risks these emissions are doing to our planet, governments and most businesses have been slow to address the crisis. In the United States, fossil fuel companies receive tens of billions of dollars each year in bank financing, taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks, and other incentives, writes Common Dreams journalist Brett Wilkins. 

“The truth is that executives from BP, Exxon, Chevron, and other Big Oil companies have spent decades lying to the American people about their commitment to solving climate change and the catastrophic climate damages they knew their products would cause. Refusing to testify just shines more light on their unwillingness to come clean on climate,” Center for Climate Integrity executive director Richard Wiles said.

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