Guterres calls out oil companies for peddling in 'big lies'
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres argues that oil companies must be held accountable for their denying of their role in the climate crisis.
In an address to the World Economic Forum, on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres scorned oil firms for having "peddled the big lie" regarding their role in global warming.
The Secretary-General drew a parallel between tobacco and fossil fuel companies claiming both knew that their products had adverse effects and did nothing about it. Today, however, Guterres argued that tobacco companies face large-scale lawsuits and so must fossil fuel firms.
"We learned last week that certain fossil fuel producers were fully aware in the 1970s that their core product was baking our planet," Guterres said.
This statement comes in reference to the newly published study that revealed that ExxonMobil knew of its role in furthering the climate crisis, "with shocking accuracy," because its own scientists have predicted those conclusions decades ago. However, the company dismissed findings by its own scientists and spent "the next couple of decades denying that very climate science."
Several lawsuits have been filed against ExxonMobil in the United States. Asked about the research reported, an ExxonMobil spokesperson said this week that the matter has come up multiple times in recent years, and in each case, the company's position was that "those who talk about how 'Exxon Knew' are wrong in their conclusions."
Guterres added, "Just like the tobacco industry, they rode roughshod over their own science," and now face lawsuits that proved that cigarette companies indeed have hidden the dangerous side effects of their products.
"Some in Big Oil peddled the big lie. And like the tobacco industry, those responsible must be held to account," the Secretary-General said.