Climate Change

Exxon's Failing PR Strategy

The company’s response to a reputation war with the Rockefellers won’t work.

Improve your messaging.

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

This Thursday’s issue of the New York Review of Books features a remarkable accusation against ExxonMobil: that the company has engaged in a decades-long effort to cover up what it knows about climate change. The charge, leveled in a 6,000-word essay by David Kaiser and Lee Wasserman of the Rockefeller Family Fund, is the latest salvo in a high-profile campaign funded by the heirs of John D. Rockefeller against the largest successor to the company he founded. It began when the Rockefeller Family Fund announced it would divest from ExxonMobil in March, arguing there was “no sane rationale” to invest in fossil fuels as the world warms. And the push is far from over: In a follow-up essay, Kaiser and Wasserman warn investors that unless the company addresses climate concerns, its share price will “probably decline substantially.”

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