Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Bill McKibben Gets Arrested Exposing Exxon's 'Unparalleled Evil'

Climate

Environmental activist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was arrested on Thursday after staging a protest at a gas station in Burlington, Vermont to bring attention to Exxon Mobil's decades-long efforts to undermine climate action for the corporation's own gain—a strategy he called "unparalleled evil" in an op-ed for the Guardian on Wednesday.

Bill McKibben staging a protest at a gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Photo credit: 350.org

McKibben blocked a gas pump at Simon's Quick Stop and Deli Mobile station, armed with a sign that read, "This pump temporarily closed because Exxon Mobil lied about climate (#ExxonKnew)" with a link to a Tumblr page explaining his actions.

In recent weeks, two separate investigations by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that Exxon hid evidence of the role of fossil fuels in climate change from the public and stymied political action on global warming. "They predicted that some Arctic oil fields would become cheaper and more accessible," McKibben told the Burlington Free Press on Thursday.

To explain why he felt compelled to stage his solo protest, McKibben wrote on his Tumblr:

This is not just one more set of sad stories about our climate. In the 28 years I’ve been following the story of global warming, this is the single most outrageous set of new revelations that journalists have uncovered. Given its unique credibility—again, it was the biggest corporation on earth—ExxonMobil could have changed history for the better. Had it sounded the alarm—had it merely said "our internal research shows the world’s scientists are right"—it would have saved a quarter century of wheel-spinning. We might actually have done something as a world before the Arctic melted, before the coral reefs were bleached, before the cycles of drought and flood set fully in.

"I don't want this  story to disappear in all this media clutter," McKibben said before his arrest. "We need to let people know what we now know about Exxon Mobil. In a noisy world, this may be what we have to do."

The demonstration drew immediate support from McKibben's fellow activist and writer Naomi Klein, who tweeted, "Exxon has earned hundreds of billions of profits off of decades of lies and deceit. So proud of my friend Bill today:"

"Recent reporting has shown Exxon to be the willing and cold-blooded perpetrators of one of the worst corporate crimes in U.S history," 350.org spokesman Karthik Ganapathy told The Huffington Post. "We should be paying more attention to it, collectively."

McKibben's protest came on the heels of a congressional push for a federal inquiry into Exxon to determine if the corporation broke the law by "failing to disclose truthful information" about climate change.

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) on Wednesday wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether Exxon violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, as well as a slew of other laws, including those protecting public health, truth in advertising, and consumer safety.

"If these allegations against Exxon are true, then Exxon's actions were immoral," Lieu and DeSaulnier wrote. "We request the DOJ investigate whether ExxonMobil's actions were also illegal."

"When I read the Times investigation it occurred to me that it is very similar to what the tobacco companies were doing decades ago," Lieu told the Los Angeles Times. "Evidence showed that what they were saying was incorrect and they kept spreading this disinformation campaign."

Federal prosecutors used the RICO Act to charge tobacco companies after they were found to be withholding information about the health impacts and addictiveness of smoking. "Exxon's situation is even worse," said Lieu. "It was taking advantage of the science ... while denying the facts to the public."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Obama Cancels Arctic Drilling Leases

Don’t Let Wall Street Leave You Behind: It’s Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Bill McKibben: ‘VW Is the Flea to Exxon’s Elephant. No Corporation Has Ever Done Anything This Big and This Bad’

Oil and Water Don’t Mix: California Must Ban Fracking

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less
A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less
Left: Lemurs in Madagascar on March 30, 2017. Mathias Appel / Flickr. Right: A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. National Marine Fisheries Service

A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.

Read More Show Less
Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular. Colin Dunn / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Vergin

It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Data from a scientist measuring macroalgal communities in rocky shores in the Argentinean Patagonia would be added to the new system. Patricia Miloslavich / University of Delaware

Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.

EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.

Read More Show Less