Statement by Paul Driessen at ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting

May 24, 2004

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Dallas, Texas
by Paul K. Driessen

Proposal #1: Board of Directors Nominees

Response to activist claims about global warming

I’m Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality, one America’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations.
I urge ExxonMobil shareholders to approve its entire slate of directors. The charges and claims being made by these activists are simply without merit.

We are in a warming trend. But we’re talking about maybe 0.4 degrees of warming over the last 50 years. Some of this is undoubtedly due to humans – but not much, if past ice ages and warm periods are any guide. And over the next 50 years we’re likely to see more of the same: mild warming.

But catastrophic global warming – the horror movie stuff – is a far-fetched, unproven theory. It’s backed only by computer models that don’t work, ground temperature stations that are contaminated by urban heat – and vocal activists who use half-truths and worst-case scenarios to promote their political agendas.

Over 18,000 scientists have said they see no convincing, real evidence that humans are disrupting the earth’s climate.

Even worse, the supposed solutions – like the Kyoto treaty – would do almost nothing to stabilize greenhouse gases or reduce global warming.

However, those false solutions would impose tremendous costs on American taxpayers and consumers – an estimated $300 billion a year!

They would impose unconscionable costs on poor Americans. Many would lose their jobs. Many others could no longer afford to heat and cool their homes.

They would impose devastating costs on two billion people, who still don’t have electricity – and are being prevented fromgetting electricity, in the name of stopping a phony global warming crisis.

That’s why ExxonMobil shareholders should ignore this proposal that some of its proposed directors be rejected because of their views on global warming.

The shareholders should also tell Christian Brothers Investment Services that its advice is not welcome in this forum until its policies reflect real science and Judeo-Christian principles. Incorporate basic standards of honesty, morality and humanity.

And help our poorest citizens take their rightful places among the Earth’s prosperous people.

Thank you.

Proposal #5: Sierra Club – Political Contributions Report   

 

I’m Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality, one of America’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations.

I was appalled to hear that ExxonMobil had only given a measly $40,000 to CORE last year. It should have been a lot more, because we’re in the business of improving and saving people’s lives – and a lot more companies and foundations should also be supporting us with sizable contributions.

As far as the Sierra Club is concerned, it takes a lot of nerve to offer a proposal like this – when it’s a hundred-million-dollar-a-year operation, and part of an 8-billion-dollar-a-year industry that never opens its books more than a crack to anyone.

And that was before George Soros started pumping millions more into its coffers, so that it could get even more involved in our political process – without having to reveal the kinds of information its proposal is demanding of ExxonMobil.

Even worse, it’s rarely held accountable for the accuracy of what it says, or the harm it causes by blocking energy and economic development, and the use of pesticides and biotechnology in poor countries.

This proposal is really just a clever way to stifle debate, and further skew the political process in Sierra Club’s favor.

Now, the Sierra Club and its allied pressure groups certainly have a right to use their vast wealth to promote their agendas.

But then they ought to abide by the same rules they’re demanding today – and reveal where their billions come from, and how they’re being spent – especially when the damage they cause is often measured in people’s lives.

Unfortunately, they don’t do so. Worse, media and regulatory watchdogs rarely scrutinize these groups – or their harmful – even lethal – policies.

And they’re exempt from the Lanham Act and other transparency and accountability laws that govern for-profit companies.

My guess is that Sierra Club is the one presenting this proposal because – unlike many other eco activist groups – it doesn’t accept corporate contributions.

But of course, with George Soros, government agencies, the Heinz, Pew, Ford and Tides Foundations, and other well-heeled outfits bankrolling it, Sierra Club doesn’t need corporate money.

This proposal should be rejected – at least until the Sierra Club and all these other organizations, foundations, government agencies and companies end their anti-human policies – and open their books for the world to see.

Thank you.

Proposal #6: Kay Bandel – Human rights in Equatorial Guinea

 

I’m Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power · Black Death, and senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality.

I am delighted that Ms. Bandell and her colleagues are making human rights and corporate social responsibility keynote topics at this meeting.

But I am dismayed that they have politicized these issues – turning them into just another bludgeon to stifle debate and promote their narrow political agendas.

Ms. Bandell claims ExxonMobil is somehow guilty of blatant human rights violations having to do with free speech.

She neglects to mention the that Christian Brothers Investment Services, Physicians for Social Responsibility and other organizations she associates with are guilty of human rights violations that truly are blatant, and unconscionable.

These groups are using false claims about catastrophic global warming to justify doing everything they can to stop fossil fuel and hydroelectric projects in poor countries, where over 2 billion people still do not have electricity – and millions die every year from diseases that would largely disappear if they did have electricity.

They oppose DDT and other pesticides – helping to guarantee that 300 million people get malaria every year, and 2 million die.

They battle biotechnology – ensuring that malnutrition and starvation continue to strike down millions of children every year, and leave others so weak, they die of other diseases.

ExxonMobil has worked hard in Africa to create jobs and economic opportunities, eliminate these diseases, and build a strong middle class.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bandell’s organizations are working overtime to promote policies that help to impoverish and kill people – and claiming their policies are moral and socially responsible.

There is no more basic human right than to live. Without life, free speech rights mean nothing.

I know ExxonMobil shareholders can see through her false claims – and will reject her proposal.

I just hope that, some day soon, she and her colleagues can get their priorities straight – adopt truly Christian principles – and stop ignoring the blatant human rights violations that they are committing.

Only then will they have the right to throw stones.

Thank you.

Proposal #11: Christian Brothers Investment Services – global warming

I’m Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power · Black Death, and senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality.

The Christian Brothers Investment Services and these other so-called socially responsible investor groups are using overblown, almost hysterical claims about catastrophic global warming to justify demands that poor Americans must learn to live with sharply higher energy prices.

Even worse, they are saying that people in developing countries must never be allowed to use fossil fuels. Must be content with a few wind turbines in their villages, or little solar panels on their huts.

Must never use pesticides to combat malaria – or biotechnology to reduce malnutrition.

And must never expect to enjoy living standards much better than they have right now.

Anything different, they are told, wouldn’t be sustainable.

This is morally wrong.

The world’s poor don’t need sustainable development. They need sustained development.

They have a right, and must have a chance, to join the ranks of the world’s prosperous people.

To do that, they need fossil fuels, hydroelectric projects, biotechnology and pesticides.

They don’t need treaties and policies that protect healthy, affluent Americans and Europeans from distant, theoretical, exaggerated or imaginary risks.

They need policies that safeguard poor families from the real, immediate, life-threatening risks that confront them every single day.

And they have a right to make decisions for themselves – and not have decisions jammed down their throats by bureaucrats, rich foundations and environmental pressure groups in wealthy developed countries.

Anything else is lethal Eco-Imperialism. It’s an abomination of the most basic Judeo-Christian standards of ethics, humanity, morality and social responsibility. It’s a human rights violation of massive proportions.

This proposal should be sent to the garbage heap of history, where it belongs …

And ExxonMobil shareholders should be proud of their company and the principled stand it has taken on all the issues that have come before them today.

Thank you.