Climate change: it wasn’t me, it was the other fellah

This news is half a year old. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen nothing about it at all on mainstream media. (Could that possibly have anything to do with that being controlled by the same greedy lying folk profiting from killing our planet, I wonder? Perhaps I shouldn’t say that, as it sounds too much like a conspiracy theory.)

tl;dr Greenpeace set up a sting operation in which they tricked Keith McCoy, Senior Director of Federal Relations at ExxonMobil, into bragging about how they’d deliberately set out to fool us all that climate change was a hoax so as to continue profiting from their polluting activities. Instead of firing him, ExxonMobil put out a tweet suggesting that the comments made by their senior director of federal relations, the man whose literal job it is to represent the company’s position, didn’t represent the company’s position.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Exxon Lobbyist Caught on Camera Going Full Cartoon Villain by Climate Town

Note: there are several ‘Microsoft-error’ tones in this video. I’m not sure why they chose to use that note, but don’t panic (as I did, at first): they’re on the audio track, not your machine.

Rollie Williams: Well, it’s time to crack open a cold one and then pour a little out for the end of an era here at ExxonMobil. That’s right; for 30 years, Exxon has been accused of funding disinformation campaigns and paying off politicians and lying about climate change; and for 30 years, they’ve had one response:

It Wasn’t Me.”

It’s the classic Shaggy defense, and it’s been incredibly effective for Exxon because all of their senior leadership has stuck to the ‘Wasn’t Me’ strategy and their army of lawyers and money has been able to use this blanket denial to fight off any legal challenges… until June of 2021, when ExxonMobil was, to borrow a phrase from Shaggy, “caught butt-naked banging on the bathroom floor” in an undercover sting operation by Greenpeace activists.

Greenpeace contacted ExxonMobil Senior Director of Federal Relations, a man named Keith McCoy, and pretended to be from a Middle Eastern oil company PR firm that wanted to hire McCoy for a cushy new job. But first, they wanted to know how in the heck Exxon was able to avoid accountability for all of their actions, and Keith McCoy – in full HD – confessed to like eight different cartoon-villain-level evil plots that ExxonMobil had spearheaded to delay action on climate change. Thirty years of ‘Wasn’t Mes’ up in smoke in a single Zoom call.

Keith McCoy: Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Carbon tax isn’t going to happen, but it gives us a talking point that we can say, “Well, what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax.” They start talking about how this is an ExxonMobil chemical and ExxonMobil is poisoning our waterways: we need congressman so-and-so to introduce this bill; we need him to make a floor statement; we need him to send a letter; you name it, we’ve asked for everything.

Rollie Williams: Keith McCoy spent the better part of an hour speed-confessing, so there’s a lot to unpack, and I urge you to check out the many stories that actual good journalists have written – links in the description [of the YouTube video] – but for me, there were three specific turbo-confessions that I think were particularly important.

Shaggy: ~These are my confessions~ [1]

Rollie Williams: Right out of the gates, if you ever find yourself using the term ‘shadow group’ to describe your business associates, you’re probably not the good guys.

Keith McCoy: Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes, we were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.

Rollie Williams: In this context, a shadow group is when you, or someone you know, sets up a ‘separate group’ that you then fund to promote fake or misleading scientific conclusions that support your preferred conclusion. Shadow groups are basically how people catfished each other before Facebook, and Keith McCoy just admitted that Exxon used shadow groups to trick people into thinking climate change was fake so they could keep making their insane profits. And that’s especially Cruella de Vil style f***ed when you consider the fact that Exxon has known climate change is real for over 40 years – as demonstrated from internal documentation going back to July of 1977, where Exxon scientist Dr. James Black held an internal meeting explicitly warning the top executives about it. I made a whole video about this, and you can watch it on my channel if you f***ing feel like it.

But the tl;dr is that in the nineties, Exxon switched to a deny and delay strategy not unlike Big Tobacco. Oh, fun fact – no, not fun, but fact fact: ExxonMobil actually used some of the same exact experts that Big Tobacco used when they tried to convince people that smoking cigarettes didn’t give you cancer, even though they had a mountain of evidence that said, “it super did.”

You ever seen The Matrix?

Matt Nelsen: Yeah.

Rollie Williams: Déjà vu.

Matt Nelsen: Have you ever seen The Matrix?

Rollie Williams: Yeah – no, wait, which one is The Matrix? Whoopi Goldberg and she can see ghosts, right?

And if you want an independent explanation of what a shadow group is, feel free to visit www-dot-shadowgroupexplanationdefinitelynotclimatetownrelated-dot-com [not a real site – well, not currently, anyway]. And while you’re at it, consider subscribing to me on Patreon, a thing that will not give you cancer. Wait…

Shaggy: ~These are my confessions~ [2]

Keith McCoy: Carbon tax isn’t going to happen, but it gives us a talking point that we can say, “Well, what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax.”

Rollie Williams: The senior director of federal policy admits on camera that they only support a carbon tax because they know it won’t pass and they can use their fake support of it as a talking point.

No clue who this is: Oh my God! He admitted it!

Rollie Williams: Actually, do we have a Shaggy reference we can use here?

Shaggy: Even got me on camera?

Rollie Williams: They even got him on camera. Thank you, Shaggy.

Anyway, a carbon tax is actually a very effective way to fight climate change. It’s basically a pollution tax that says let’s charge companies a fee for every ton of carbon dioxide pollution they emit. Companies will be incentivized to reduce their own carbon emissions to reduce the fees they pay, and we can let the precious free market solve the problem. Countries like England and Sweden already have a carbon tax, and guess what? It actually works. So, when a bunch of Big Oil companies like Exxon started promoting a carbon tax in recent years, it turned a lot of heads. Maybe these Big Oil companies aren’t trying to delay climate change and are ready to help tackle the problem, a thing they explicitly state on their websites.

But it turns out none of that’s true. Apparently, ExxonMobil just did the math and found out that in today’s political climate, there’s no way to get 60 senators, including 10 Republicans, to vote in favor of actual climate policy. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Take it away, senior director of federal relations at ExxonMobil.

Keith McCoy: It’s going to take political courage, political will in order to get something done, and that doesn’t exist in politics. It just doesn’t.

Greenpeace stinger: It’s basically never going to happen, right, is the calculation?

Keith McCoy: No, it’s not. It’s not. A carbon tax isn’t gonna happen.

Rollie Williams: And they’ve been running this carbon tax hustle for over a decade. Here’s former CEO and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (remember that?) Talking about the carbon tax back in 2009:

Rex Tillerson: A revenue neutral carbon tax, though, has the advantage of being well focused for achieving our society’s shared goals of reducing emissions over the long term carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax – carbon tax. Now, some people have suggested that a revenue carbon tax has no chance of gaining sufficient support in Congress to become a law. I disagree with this assessment.

Keith McCoy: Carbon tax isn’t going to happen. It’s an easy talking point.

Rollie Williams: So, since the carbon tax was the only climate policy ExxonMobil would get behind, and a lie detector test determined that was a lie, Exxon probably shouldn’t be trusted when it comes to the current climate policy legislation being debated, AKA the third confession.

Shaggy: ~These are my confessions~ [3]

Rollie Williams: If you’ve spent much time in America, you’ll notice that our infrastructure doesn’t hold up to extreme weather… or mild weather… or no weather. And there’s this huge infrastructure package going through Congress right now that would help rebuild America in a more resilient way, create a ton of jobs and help a ton of people. But it would require a bunch of multibillion dollar corporations to actually pay their taxes – and that’s where Exxon draws the line.

Keith McCoy: We’re playing defense because President Biden is talking about this big infrastructure package, and he’s going to pay for it by increasing corporate taxes.

Rollie Williams: And their strategy is to go after the more vulnerable senators, both Democratic [sic] and Republican. A ‘vulnerable’ senator is someone who’s up for re-election and would maybe lose that race if Exxon decided to fund their competition. You know what? Keith McCoy actually describes this a lot better. Do we have footage of that?

Keith McCoy: On the Democrat side, we look for the moderates on these issues; So, it’s the Manchins, it’s the Sinemas, it’s the Testers. Joe Manchin, I talk to his office every week; he is the kingmaker on this because he’s a Democrat from West Virginia, which is a very conservative state. Who is up for re-election in 2022? That’s Hassan, that’s Kelly. I can’t worry about the 2027 class because they’re not focused on re-election. The 2022 class is focused on re-election, so I know I have them. Those are the Marco Rubios; those are the Senator Kennedys; those are the Senator Daines. So, you can have those conversations with them because they’re a captive audience. They know they need you and I need them.

Rollie Williams: They’re also going after Democratic Senator Chris Coons from Delaware. Now, why would they be going after –

Keith McCoy: Senator Coons, who’s from Delaware, who has a very close relationship with Biden. So we’ve been working with his office; matter of fact, our CEO is talking to him next Tuesday.

Rollie Williams: And you know what? It’s already working for Exxon because that two trillion dollar infrastructure plan has stalled and gotten broken down into a smaller $550 billion plan that really only includes roads, bridges and some utilities. You know, I wonder if a certain Exxon sting operation can shed any light onto that.

Keith McCoy: If you start to stick to roads and bridges and instead of a two trillion dollar bill, it’s a $800 billion bill. If you lower that threshold, you stick to highways and bridges then a lot of the negative stuff starts to come out. Why would you put in a something on emissions reductions on climate change to oil refineries in a highway bill? People say, “Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense that shouldn’t be in this bill.”

Rollie Williams: Just terrific stuff. And it was almost the perfect crime. You just made one tiny mistake. You miked yourself up, got in front of your own camera and confessed all of this for an hour to a man you barely knew at the prospect of maybe making some extra money. Well, obviously Exxon is caught. I mean, how could they possibly…?

Rollie Williams: No… no way. No way. No fucking way.

Shaggy: [unintelligible]

Rollie Williams: Yeah, after Greenpeace released these videos, Exxon dusted off a classic and just said “It Wasn’t Me” again, and you gotta admire the absolute commitment to the bid. It is a real power move to say that your senior director of federal relations, a man whose literal job it is to represent your company’s position, doesn’t represent your company’s position. And just to stick the landing on this whole, “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy Runner, Exxon denying it a second time is like if the woman from the Shaggy song had then heard the original Shaggy song in which they explicitly detail their plans to lie to her, and then she confronted them about that, and instead of confessing, Shaggy then wrote and recorded a second song called “It Wasn’t Me too” and released it on Twitter.

And if any of this statement is even remotely true… How do I say this? Why does Keith McCoy still work at Exxon? I mean, if he was some kind of liar who went rogue and said a bunch of dangerous and incriminating lies about your company, all while interviewing for a different job, wouldn’t he have been fired? Of course he would have. If you’re a fry cook at McDonald’s and you interview for a job at Taco Bell in which you get caught on camera saying you sh*t on the fries every night – you get fired. If Keith McCoy had been lying about all of this, they probably would have fired him, but they didn’t; because he was probably telling the truth. And ExxonMobil has an amazing strategy when it comes to the truth: they deny it until it blows over, then they gather all of it up and dump it in the ocean. But of course they were going to just deny it, because that’s a winning strategy for them, and it works so well because our elected representatives, both Republican and Democrat, won’t stop taking money and meetings from Exxon-f*cking-Mobil. So, bravo to you, Exxon, for bravely launching a secret lobbying campaign to once again prevent action on climate change. And, er, what was the reason again?

Keith McCoy: You know, we were looking out for our investments.

Rollie Williams: Now, maybe it’s not usually your thing, but if you found any of what I’ve said compelling, I’ve taken the liberty of putting the phone numbers and contact information of all of these vulnerable senators in the description of this video. If you have a chance to give them a call and let them know that you think it’s unacceptable to take money and meetings with Exxon, I think that might really help them out. Who are those senators again, Keith?

Keith McCoy: Joe Manchins; the Sinemas, it’s the Testers; Senator Capito, Hassan, that’s Kelly, the Senator Coons; those are the Marco Rubio, Senator Kennedy, the Senator Daines.

Rollie Williams: So if you are thinking about picking up your phone and calling these people do it quick because they’re still working on climate legislation in a different infrastructure bill, which would only actually need 50 votes to pass through budget reconciliation. What am I, f*ck, pod save America? But that would only work if all the Democratic senators and maybe even some Republican senators don’t cave to bad faith lobbying efforts by people like Keith McCoy. So, please, contact our senators. All of them. Get weird with it if you want you. Better yet, invite some friends over, get drunk and just go to town on these guys. And if that’s not really your speed, just get educated on the climate crisis. Maybe even join some local organizations like Citizens Climate Lobby, The Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion,… the list goes on. Because if you’re starting to worry about climate change and you think our system is not that well-equipped to handle it, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: what was the point of getting it on camera if we’re just going to let them say, “It wasn’t me”? It was you. We got it on camera!

Rollie Williams1: Well, that was about four minutes longer than it needed to be, huh? Seriously, thank you so much for watching; I really appreciate it and I’m going to keep making more videos. But if you do want to support the channel, I just started a Climate Town Patreon page and the link is in the bio.
Rollie Williams2: Wait, people have to pay for these videos now?
Rollie Williams1: Oh, no, they’re still all on YouTube for free; this would just be if you wanted to, like, help me make them faster and better. Oh, also exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews, and, like, stuff that gets cut from the final videos.
Rollie Williams2: So, you want people to pay for the stuff that’s not good enough to be free?
Rollie Williams1: I am just hoping that a few people might want to send like five bucks a month my way because you appreciate what could be described as highly researched, low budget, super-try-hard climate comedy.
Rollie Williams3: ‘Climate comedy’? Like edutainment?
Rollie Williams2: No, like infotainment.
Rollie Williams3: And you have to pay for it?
Rollie Williams2: Only the bad stuff; the good stuff is still free, right?
Rollie Williams1: OK, I feel like this really went off the rails.
Rollie Williams2: Hey, man, don’t look at me; you’re the one trying to get people to donate to your climate comedy Patreon page and the link is in the bio.

Al Gore: I have not tried marijuana.

The transcript above was made with the help of Sonix, which did most of the donkey work for a tiny fee (I did have to spend some time tidying it up). Note that I do not have the copyright owner’s permission to publish this transcript here. I’ve investigated the copyright rules regarding transcriptions (more about that here), and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s no defence to make a disclaimer like “these aren’t my words, no copyright infringement intended.” However, I offer the transcription here as a service to society (especially the deaf community). I do hope the copyright owner won’t object. And I hope that you find this video as interesting as I did.

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, GCD: Global climate disruption, Just for laughs, Phlyarology, Strategy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Climate change: it wasn’t me, it was the other fellah

  1. Oh this is good!!
    Laughter forever after

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I eat mostly vegetarian, heat my house with a green geothermal furnace, recycle, and donate monthly to the Environmental Defense Fund and to the Sierra Club. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      Good to hear. I do what I can, as an individual, too. Sadly, it’s not enough. We desperately need to rein in the insanity of the greedy corporations and the corrupt politician-economists whose god is All-Powerful Growth.


  3. Forestwood says:

    Unbelievable but then too believable as well. The absolute bastardry of it is disgusting. We had a carbon tax for a short while – it took down our first female leader with it and has made the Austrlaian electorate run at speed away from any electoral hopeful that mentioned the T word…. the electorate is getting dumber all the time….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Shell knew (half a century ago!) that CO2 was a problem | Wibble

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