The Guardian was banned from attending the annual general meeting of the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer, Exxon Mobil. Exxon cited a “lack of objectivity” from the news organisation in its reporting on climate change as the reason for the ban, according to a post by finance editor, Nils Pratley.
Exxon’s media relations manager Alan Jeffers, said that the paper’s partnership with anti-oil and gas activists means it can’t be objective on climate change related issues:
We are denying your request [to attend Wednesday’s meeting] because of the Guardian’s lack of objectivity on climate change reporting demonstrated by its partnership with anti-oil and gas activists and its campaign against companies that provide energy necessary for modern life, including newspapers.
The Guardian has partnerships with several environmental groups for its “Keep it in the ground” campaign, which advocates moving away from fossil fuels and instead using clean energy sources such as solar and wind power.
Exxon isn’t that objective when it comes to climate change, either. Famously, the company gave $30 million to “researchers” and campaign groups who deny climate change, spread over several years. Exxon said it stopped that funding in 2007, but The Guardian reported last year that it has given more than $2.3 million to members of the US Congress and a lobbying group, who deny climate change.
At Wednesday’s AGM, chief executive Rex Tillerson said that until green technologies could match the capacity of traditional fuel sources the “world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.”
Tillerson stressed that Exxon has invested more than $7 billion in green tech, but that it has yet to achieve breakthroughs that let green energy sources compete with fossil fuels. “Until we have those [breakthroughs], just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is not acceptable to humanity,” he said.
The AGM took place on Wednesday morning (9:30 a.m. CT; 3:30 p.m. BST) in Dallas, Texas. ExxonMobil shareholders rejected a climate change policy that included limiting global warming, putting a climate expert on the company’s board, and reporting on the potential impacts of fracking. Thirty-eight per cent of shareholders voted for the proposal.