Monday, July 23, 2012

The Next Set of Questions for Exxon Mobil's CEO

Now that Exxon Mobil's CEO has admitted that CO2 emissions cause warming, the next reporter who gets a chance to interview him needs to be ready with the appropriate followup questions.

Last month, Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO ex Tillerson said, at the Council of Foreign Relations:
“Increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere will have a warming impact,” Tillerson said. “It’s an engineering problem and it has an engineering solution.”
Q: What is that solution?
Q: Should fossil fuel producers and consumers pay the cost of that solution?
Q: If not, why not?
Farmers may shift crops to new regions as temperatures rise. “As a species, that’s why we’re all still here,” he said. “We adapt.”
Q: How will the necessary adaptations be distributed across societies?
Q: Should fossil fuel producers and consumers pay the cost of that adaptation?
Q: If not, why not?
“There are much more pressing priorities that we, as a human race, need to deal with,” he said. The world’s poorest residents “don’t even have access to fossil fuels to burn. They’d love to burn fossil fuels because their quality of life would rise immeasurably.”
Q: Then, should those who aren't poor pay for the cost of their emissions?
Q: If not, why not?

Q: Is it ethical for a company to keep the profits of a product, which admittedly causes damage, while expecting society to pay for that damage?

Opportunities to put questions to someone like Tillerson are far too infrequent, so reporters need to be ready. These questions would be a good start.

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