^
Keep Westword Free
4

ExxonMobil's Rex Tillerson rejects "fear factor" in climate change research

Give Rex Tillerson some credit. At least the ExxonMobil CEO has avoided claiming that global warming isn't real, the way tobacco executives used to pretend lung cancer was just some weird, wacky, luck-of-the-draw disease that had no linkage to massive consumption of their product.

Tillerson just happens to think that climate change researchers are, well, overstating things a bit, with the aid and collusion of the fear-mongering media.

Rising sea levels? Melting polar caps? Disappointing crop yields? Sure, some folks on the coasts might get a little water in the basement, but so what?

"Our ability to predict, with any accuracy, what the future's going to be is really pretty limited," Tillerson said in a response to a question, after delivering an upbeat speech on "The New North American Energy Paradigm" to the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday. "We have spent our entire existence adapting, okay? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around -- we'll adapt to that. It's an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions."

Tillerson's remarks came only hours after a federal appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency does indeed have the authority (and the science to back it up) to regulate greenhouse gases produced by industry and motor vehicles -- a clear victory for researchers and environmental groups that have been maintaining for years that human-generated carbon emissions are a major source of climate change and endanger human health.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Just how carbon regulations will ultimately be implemented remains up in the air, so to speak. But Tillerson's comments point to a possible new direction for energy industry leaders reeling from the EPA decision -- instead of burying your head in the tar sands, it's okay to talk about climate change, just so long as people understand we can adapt.

It's what we do, okay?

For more information on how one humble species has adapted to slightly warmer temperatures, increasing the severity and range of the worst beetle epidemic in recorded history in Colorado and across the West, check out this week's cover story, "The Beetle and the Damage Done."

More from our Environment archive: "Groupon project enlists hikers to hunt for elusive pika."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.