Questions for Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson

Now that Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil has admitted that CO2 emissions will cause warming David Appell thinks some follow-up questions are in order:

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?

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?

Comments:

  1. I rather dislike phrasing opinions as questions - by which I mean that I think you (and DA) put these up not because you want to ask the questions, but because you have answers, and you think those answers are unpalatable. In which case, you should explicitly put up your answers.

    Anyway, I say:

    >Q: What is that solution?

    Your answer: "ha! See, you have no solution".
    Their answer: "there are a variety of solutions, from emitting less CO2 (changing fuels, efficiency, blah) to adapting to warming etc".

    >Q: Should fossil fuel producers and consumers pay the cost of that solution?

    Your answer: "ha! Its all the fault of you bloated profit-making oil and coal companies, so you can pay".
    Their answer: "well, that isn't a clear question. Do you mean pay for past or future emissions? Paying for past is effectively retrospective legislation, which is generally frowned upon, and anyway you'll never pass it. So its future. But the fossil fuel companies can't pay: just compare their profits to the expected costs. So its going to have to be the future consumers. And they should pay via a carbon tax" (actually that last sentence isn't their answer, its mine).

    > Q: If not, why not?
    Your answer: "ha! You stinking scum, you refuse to pay up".
    Their answer: "What are you smokin', dude? We just told you how we'll pay. Don't you listen?".

    > 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?
    Your answer "ha! You may not have broken the law, but by golly we'll make ourselves feel self-righteous by calling you immoral".
    Their answer: "well, technically the company doesn't keep the profits. It pays them out to shareholders, you know. People like pension funds and so on. BTW, we have several other answers along the same lines but don't really need to waste them on you."


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