Big Oil in the Hot Seat: House Oversight Committee Holds Hearing into Industry Deception

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties grilled witnesses for more than two hours on the history of the fossil fuel industry’s knowledge of climate and the massive disinformation campaign they’ve waged since the 1980s to cover it up and protect their profits.

Witnesses including former ExxonMobil Dr. Ed Garvey and Dr. Martin Hoffert testified that Exxon knew their products were causing global warming and would eventually threaten millions of lives and livelihoods. Instead of warning the public and transitioning to clean energy, Exxon spent millions to mislead the public, media, and lawmakers.

The hearing took place in the middle of a tough week for the fossil fuel industry: Yesterday, Exxon went on trial in New York in a securities fraud case brought by the New York State Attorney General, and the United States Supreme Court denied the oil companies’ request for an emergency stay in the City of Baltimore’s public nuisance suit.

Below you’ll find statements from Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, and Mike Tidwell, executive director of the CCAN Action Fund, on the hearings:

“The hearing completely destroyed Big Oil’s myth that we are all responsible for climate change by exposing their multi-hundred million dollar climate deception campaign,” said Wiles.

“We now know that oil companies and their apologists in the congress have no reply to the fact that big oil knew 40 years ago that they were causing potentially catastrophic climate change, and then lied about it,” said Wiles.

“We can never pass truly strong climate policy as long as ExxonMobil and other oil majors maintain their political stranglehold on Capitol Hill. They knew. They lied. And they’re still lying,” said Tidwell.

“Like Big Tobacco, we must expose big oil’s deception and force their executives to confess under oath that they have risked the entire planet for their short-term greed,” said Tidwell.

“This hearing put the industry’s deception front and center. Congress owes it to the American people to keep the pressure on,” said Tidwell.


Gabi Porter, 480-252-5719,
Denise Robbins, 608-620-8819,

The Center for Climate Integrity, a project of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, launched in 2017. CCI works with partners in communities across the country to educate the public and policymakers about the massive costs of coping with the damage attributable to global warming, and supports efforts to make climate polluters to pay their fair share.

CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN and CCAN Action Fund have been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

For more information on what ExxonMobil and others in the industry knew about climate change and when, check out the Center for Climate Integrity’s “Smoking Guns” document archive.