Wait Till You See These Secret Memos Laying Out Activists’ Plans to Target Exxon

New reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Free Beacon have further exposed how anti-fossil fuel activists colluded to push politically-motivated investigations of climate dissent, adding to a series of reports from Energy In Depth that already uncovered the funding and inspiration behind the broader campaign.

After the Wall Street Journal revealed Wednesday that anti-fossil fuel activists (such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben and former member of Greenpeace Board of Directors Kenny Bruno) met “behind closed doors” at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in January to strategize on furthering the #ExxonKnew campaign, many more details have now emerged.

The Free Beacon has since posted the memo laying out the guest list and agenda for that meeting, which was sent around to the group by Bruno. In that memo, Bruno states as the group’s “common goals” the following:

exxon memo

And if there’s any doubt about how Bruno really feels, here’s what he tweeted on March 30:

Note here how the memo states quite clearly that the group is focused on establishing “in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.” Despite that, Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, literally uttered the following words to the Wall Street Journal this week:

“‘It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions,’ said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which hosted the January meeting. ‘It’s not really about Exxon.’”

Of course, the claim that the campaign was “not really about Exxon” could raise new questions about its real purpose, which many have already alleged is politically motivated. The effort has already led to a subpoena of a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC, with the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general demanding documents related to that organization’s advocacy on climate policy. Naturally, the USVI official also wants to know who funds the group.

Not the first time

What the Wall Street Journal and Free Beacon didn’t report, however, is that the January 2016 meeting was not exactly the first strategy session that took place in which plans to target Exxon in particular were on the agenda.

In 2012, the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which are both funded by the Rockefellers, held a workshop in La Jolla, Calif., at which one of the topics discussed was the various ways they could help hasten an investigation into ExxonMobil via RICO laws. Apparently proud of the progress they had made, the groups released a report after the meeting concluded called, “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.” The Rockefellers, as mentioned, hosted the Jan. 2016 meeting. And guess who provided the financial support for 2012 conference in La Jolla? (Yes, them.)

Interestingly, the January 2016 meeting included many of the same participants who attended the 2012 meeting in La Jolla, including attorneys Matt Pawa and Sharon Eubanks, Carroll Muffett, and representatives from Greenpeace.

guest list

Matt Pawa, an attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and a board member of the CAI, which organized the La Jolla meeting, has long been involved in campaigns aimed at attacking ExxonMobil. As the CIEL website states,

“Mr. Pawa also has pioneered the use of tort theories against greenhouse gas polluters in cases such as Connecticut v. American Electric Power and Kivalina v. ExxonMobil.” (emphasis added)

Sharon Eubanks was the director of the Department of Justice’s tobacco litigation effort in the 1990s and has been active in the press on anti-Exxon efforts.  Carroll Muffett is also on the board of CAI.

The state attorneys general investigations rely on cherry-picked articles written by the Rockefeller-funded InsideClimate News (ICN) and Columbia School of Journalism, which Energy In Depth has definitively debunked. ICN published an article entitled “How We Got the Exxon Story” in November 2015, which admits that ICN journalist Dave Hasemyer “learned from scientist Michael MacCracken, who had long helped run federal climate research programs, that Exxon scientists had worked with the government on climate science as far back as the early 1980s.” Michael MacCracken is a scientist with the CAI and he also attended the 2012 La Jolla conference.

According to the activists themselves, they had been looking to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for quite some time as the perfect person to launch an investigation. As ICN also reported in that same article, “Some climate advocacy groups have long urged that Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, investigate Exxon and other companies under the 1921 statute.”

The 2012 La Jolla report even admitted:

“State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light. In addition, lawyers at the workshop noted that even grand juries convened by a district attorney could result in significant document discovery.”

In other words, the #ExxonKnew campaign didn’t just materialize overnight. It was the product of four long years of careful planning and constant coordination among the groups and the Rockefellers, which handled at key stages issues related to logistics, network management, and (critically) funding.  The Rockefeller Family Fund has admitted that it poured tens of thousands of dollars into ICN and Columbia School of Journalism in order to push “better climate policy.” According to Reuters:

Rockefeller Family Fund Director Lee Wasserman said Exxon was not singled out when it granted about $25,000 to InsideClimate News.

“We supported public interest journalism to better understand how the fossil fuel industry was dealing with the reality of climate science internally and publicly,” Wasserman said. “No specific company was targeted in our push to drive better public understanding and better climate policy.”

This is just the latest report to note the large web of activists working hand in glove to push a story that is based on anti-fossil fuel ideology, rather than the facts.  We don’t expect it to be the last.

Comments

  1. Bob Good says:

    I guess the real question is, what is the Rockerfeller’s real motive for doing this? They probably put more carbon in the atmosphere per unit time than a hundred thousand of us normal folks. And, they probably won’t cut back their use… ever!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Interestingly, Rockefeller (even with their family history in oil) pulled out investments from fossil fuels in 2014. They may be serious about the climate change movement. In the past, they have actually campaigned groups opposed to fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline.
      Maybe they are looking to make investments in renewable energy – but they are definitely cutting ties with carbon.

  2. Karen Orlando says:

    Why do I see nothing so far about this calling into question the climate benefits of fracking over coal as presumably this is about natural gas? Considering bill mckibben just published a piece in the nation that does just that and considering that the working families party was also involved in the ban fracking movement in NY which used questioning the climate benefits of natural gas over coal as one of its strategies to stop fracking for natural gas in NY, one might think someone would focus on this part as well. Also seems timely as Bernie Sanders and the antifracking movement have been in the news very recently as well in NY.

  3. David Stevens says:

    Defamation, libel and slander with intent. It seems open and shut and this type of strategizing is not unique to Greenpeace. I’d say it’s M.O of all the hard left activist groups. Its just rare we’d be able to see such iron clad evidence. Now its Greenpeace that should (rightfully) take a hit to its reputation. Let a big fat judgment be levied against it so other deceitful activist groups think twice about such dishonorable tactics

Trackbacks

  1. […] founder Bill McKibben and Kenny Bruno, a former member of the Greenpeace board of directors. An internal memo published last week revealed that their goal was to map out how to “delegitimize” ExxonMobil as a “political […]

  2. […] we’re talking about the serious questions that have been raised about what sure looks to be a pretty coordinated campaign among activists, ICN, contingent-fee […]

  3. […] Energy In Depth has noted before, in 2012, the CAI teamed up with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) – again, both funded by […]

  4. […] damage control from ICN confirms earlier research from Energy In Depth and many other groups that have linked the current investigations of climate policy dissent with a […]

  5. […] EID reported at the time, 350.org founder Bill McKibben was there, and a guy named Kenny Bruno (who once […]

  6. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  7. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  8. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  9. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  10. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  11. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  12. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  13. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  14. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  15. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  16. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  17. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  18. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  19. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  20. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  21. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  22. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent ,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type conspiracy […]

  23. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  24. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “NYT > Business […]

  25. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  26. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  27. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  28. […] activists who have painted a bright target on the back of Exxon Mobil have “colluded to push politically motivated investigations of climate dissent,” and conducted a “real-life RICO-type […]

  29. […] 1990s and has been active in the anti-Exxon campaign. She attended La Jolla conference as well as a closed-door meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund in January of this year, which was held in order to brainstorm how […]

  30. […] 1990s and has been active in the anti-Exxon campaign. She attended La Jolla conference as well as a closed-door meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund in January of this year, which was held in order to brainstorm how […]

  31. […] effort in the 1990s. Eubanks also attended the 2012 La Jolla Conference as well as a closed-door January 2016 meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices, at which activists brainstormed ways they could […]

  32. […] in 2009. Three years later, UCS sponsored a  conference in La Jolla to formulate a strategy to takedown ExxonMobil, Energy in Depth reported. According to a New York Times article defending the […]

  33. […] Although Egan did note that IEEFA is bankrolled in part by several foundations associated with the Rockefellers, he did not disclose the significance of that funding: the Rockefellers have been the common financial link among the myriad activist groups behind the #ExxonKnew climate campaign. One of the goals of that campaign, according to its own adherents, is to “drive divestment from Exxon.” […]

  34. […] Rockefeller Family Fund and Wasserman also played host to a secret strategy meeting in January 2016, where the activists they have bankrolled, including representatives from 350.org, […]

  35. […] bigger point here is that by claiming Exxon “won” the election, they’re conceding that – after years of working to “to establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution,” “delegitimize them as […]

  36. […] from Greenpeace were in attendance at a secret strategy meeting in January 2016, held at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in New York, where the activists met […]

  37. […] from Greenpeace were in attendance at a secret strategy meeting in January 2016, held at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in New York, where the activists met […]

  38. […] from Greenpeace were in attendance at a secret strategy meeting in January 2016, held at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in New York, where the activists met […]

  39. […] company that their Rockefeller funders want to marginalize. Or, as the activists themselves put it during a meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund’s office last year: “To establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has […]

  40. […] as the activists themselves put it during a meeting at the Rockefeller Family Fund’s office last year: “To establish in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has […]

Speak Your Mind

*