All hands on deck of a sinking ship? -
In a recent opinion piece, Andlinger Center Director Lynn Loo defended the Centers research partnership with ExxonMobil on the grounds that engagement with oil and gas companies is required for rapid decarbonization. This piece came within 24 hours of an announcement that Exxon had re-upped the multimillion dollar partnership for another 5 years.
I dont doubt that professor Loo is deeply committed to fighting climate change. I agree wholeheartedly that we need all hands on deck. But if we examine Exxons motivations, I think well discover that some of those hands are trying to sink the ship, and thats if sea level rise doesnt take us down first. By renewing the partnership, Loo and her colleagues have inadvertently abetted Exxons efforts to delay climate action and protect its long-term investments in fossil fuel infrastructure. The Andlinger Center is being used.
The partnership is the latest in the companys sordid history of greenwashing while simultaneously pursuing the 3 Ds: deny (science), delay (action), and deflect (blame). For example, Exxons advanced biofuel research has been well-documented as little more than a PR campaign and is currently the basis for a lawsuit brought against the company by the state of Massachusetts.
Loo states that the next phase of research will focus on carbon capture and storage. While alluring on paper, this technology has long been leveraged as a license to continue emitting. How convenient for Exxon! They get to appear committed to climate ....