To: Governor Jay Inslee

Urge Washington State to Divest from ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil deliberately deceived the public on climate change, and set us back decades. Now Washington State, like many others, is paying for Exxon's deception. We urge you to divest State monies from ExxonMobil.

Why is this important?

ExxonMobil deliberately deceived the public on climate change, and set us back decades.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning outlets Inside Climate News and the L.A. Times recently exposed that Exxon's own research confirmed fossil fuels’ role in global warming decades ago. As far back as 1978, Exxon's own scientists were informing the company's top executives of the global catastrophe that would result from the unchecked burning of fossil fuels.

Yet rather than use that research for the public good [1], Exxon chose to bury it and to take up a position at the very forefront of climate change denial. The company took out prominent ads in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, contending that the climate science was murky and uncertain. They spent tens of millions funding climate change denying think tanks and lobbyists. [2]

These deliberate acts of deception helped to set climate change action back decades.

Now Washington State, like many others, is paying for Exxon's deception.

Over 50% of our Columbia River salmon died in overheated rivers last year [3]. Record-breaking wildfires [4] scorched our lands, burned our homes and killed our people. Drought has cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few years alone [5]. Our snow packs have plummeted [6], resulting in more water pollution, less drinking water, and less hydro-electric capacity, while also robbing our ski industry of millions of dollars. Our forests are threatened by the pine bark beetle, which thrives in warmer temperatures [7]. Many of the Pacific Northwest's native plant and animal species are at risk [8], and some of our coastal communities will become uninhabitable due to sea-level rise in the years ahead [9].

"ExxonMobil's own scientists have long known about the dangers of global warming, and chose to conceal that from the public," VT Governor Shumlin said in a speech calling for his own state to divest from the company. "At the same time that they were building their oil rigs taller to account for rising sea levels, they were funding front groups of scientists to deny climate change is real. This is a page right out of Big Tobacco, which for decades denied the health risks of their product as they were killing people."

We need to make it clear that we’ll have no part in a company that does business this way. Governor Inslee, we know you care about climate change like we do. We urge you to follow Governor Shumlin’s lead, and divest State monies from ExxonMobil.

References:

1. Bill McKibben, ”Imagine if Exxon had told the truth on climate change,” The Guardian, October 28, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/28/imagine-if-exxon-had-told-the-truth-on-climate-change

2. Katie Jennings, Dino Grandoni and Susanne Rust, "How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change,” LA Times, October 23, 2015, http://graphics.latimes.com/exxon-research/

3. Courtney Sherwood, "Half of the Columbia River's sockeye salmon are dying due to hot water,” Business Insider, July 27, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/r-thousands-of-salmon-die-in-hotter-than-usual-northwest-rivers-2015-7

4. Erin McCann, “Washington wildfires break state record: just how big is the blaze?,” The Guardian, August 24, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/24/washington-wildfires-okanogan-complex

5. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Table of Events, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events

6. Reduced Snow Pack and Earlier Runoff, Department of Ecology, State of Washington, http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/reducedsnow_more.htm

7. Forest Health Highlights in Washington—2007, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, http://file.dnr.wa.gov/publications/rp_fh_2007_forest_health_highlights.pdf

8. How Will Climate Change Affect Plants and Animals in Washington?, Climate Impacts Group, College of the Environment, University of Washington, http://cses.washington.edu/db/pdf/snoveretalsok2013sec8.pdf

9. Bellamy Pailthorp, “Sea Level Rise Map Shows 30 Wash. Towns Inundated,” KPLU, August 15, 2013, http://www.kplu.org/post/sea-level-rise-map-shows-30-wash-towns-inundated

Photo:

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (right) at the international climate conference in Paris with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in December. Credit: Gov. Jay Inslee, via Flickr.

WA, United States

Reasons for signing

  • Because they helped break our planet!

Updates

2016-02-09 21:31:08 -0800

5,000 signatures reached

2016-02-04 12:56:09 -0800

1,000 signatures reached

2016-02-04 12:21:40 -0800

500 signatures reached

2016-02-04 11:39:12 -0800

100 signatures reached

2016-02-03 18:31:42 -0800

50 signatures reached

2016-02-03 16:30:49 -0800

25 signatures reached

2016-02-03 09:19:51 -0800

10 signatures reached