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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Leads Letter to Secretary Tillerson Following New ExxonMobil CEO’s Statement on Climate Change

Feb 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), led his SEEC colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson following a recent public statement made by his successor as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Darren Woods, regarding the validity and urgency of climate change action. Tillerson served as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil from January 2006 to December 2016.

The letter, copied below and linked here, is signed by SEEC Co-Chairs Doris Matsui and Paul Tonko; Vice-Chairs Mike Quigley, Jared Polis, and Matt Cartwright; and SEEC members Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Ted W. Lieu, Colleen Hanabusa, John K. Delaney, Katherine Clark, Derek Kilmer, and Earl Blumenauer.


February 28, 2017

The Honorable Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State of the United States

2201 C St NW

Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Tillerson,

We, the undersigned members of Congress who serve on the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, are writing today to draw your attention to a recent public statement from your successor as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Darren Woods.

In his first blog post on ExxonMobil’s EnergyFactor blog, Mr. Woods explicitly notes the “dual challenge” of providing energy to a growing world while taking action to address the pressing realities of climate change. Woods highlights ExxonMobil’s support for the international climate action pledges which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement and calls on businesses, governments, and consumers to contribute to shared global efforts to reduce emissions in line international commitments. He touts ExxonMobil’s existing progress in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and its forecasts which project further emissions cuts.

The blog post also discusses the importance of advanced technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage and advanced biofuels, and endorses the idea of a price on carbon as a policy lever to help drive ‘low-carbon energy solutions for the future.’

It is encouraging to read such sentiments from the leader of one of the world’s largest and most prominent fossil fuel companies, a company you oversaw just two months ago. The climate crisis now facing every country and person on earth is unprecedented in scope and potential impact. As Mr. Woods says, it will take people, corporations, national and sub-national governments from around the world acting urgently to avoid the future impacts of climate change and adapt to the effects that are now inevitable.

In your time at ExxonMobil, you echoed many of the same sentiments that Mr. Woods expressed in his blog post. Now that you serve as Secretary of State, you must use your position to lead on climate action. Climate change has severe national and economic security implications, and it’s imperative that the Secretary of State gives climate change the attention it deserves here at home and around the globe.

Given the magnitude of the threat climate change faces and the nature of the collective action required to address it, it is imperative that the United States remain an active party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. In addition to being the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter, our country is viewed across the world as a leader and an example and must continue to strive to meet our international climate action commitments so that other countries continue to meet theirs.

Under your leadership, the State Department must remain a leader in advocating for advanced, low-carbon technologies as well as policies to promote the shift to a sustainable global economy. As many in the Department of Defense and in the United States military understand, our national security depends on it.

As a former CEO of ExxonMobil and the Secretary of State, you have a unique understanding the magnitude of the climate crisis we are experiencing today. We urge to you acknowledge your successor’s sentiment, as well as leverage your own knowledge and experience, to support substantive climate action at the State Department and encourage it elsewhere in the federal government.