On October 28, 2021 the House Committee on Oversight and Reform convened a hearing on the alleged role of the fossil fuel industry in promoting climate disinformation. This was the first time that executives from Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell testified under oath on the matter. The main oil lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also testified.
During his allotted time, Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley immediately raised the issue of climate security, saying “I serve on the House Select Committee on Intelligence and we are often briefed on climate change as a threat to our national security.” He cited the importance of recent reports on climate security from the intelligence community, the National Security Council, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
On the issue of disinformation, Rep Quigley continued “The hearing today has helped document a long-standing and concerted effort to muddy the scientific waters on the threat of climate change.” Adding, “But I think the person who put all that best was Dr. Rod Schoonover. He served for a decade in the U.S. intelligence community as a senior analyst and senior scientist in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State and Director of Environment and Natural Resources [at the National Intelligence Council].”He said, and I quote, “If climate change poses a risk to national security, as the Pentagon and intelligence community again reminded us last week, shouldn’t we view climate disinformation through that lens as well?
Speaking directly to the witnesses, Rep Quigley concluded “I think those before us today have to ask themselves this question as this investigation goes further and we should see the issue under that prism.”
During the hearing, the executives insisted that their companies had not misled the public about the connections between fossil fuels and climate change. At the end of the hearing, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney announced that she plans to issue subpoenas to obtain documents pertinent to possible disinformation efforts.
Watch the video here (with the segment covering Dr. Schoonover’s comments beginning at 3:06:40)