Speaking at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, the UN Secretary General António Guterres has accused fossil fuel producers and their financial backers of knowingly expanding production despite being aware that " their business model is inconsistent with human survival.” He warned that the commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels is “going up in smoke“. "We are flirting with climate disaster. Every week brings a new climate horror story,” he added.
Guterres also called for the oil and gas industry to be held accountable for its role in climate change, alluding to an analysis showing ExxonMobil's own scientists accurately predicted future global warming in reports dating back decades.
“Just like the tobacco industry, they rode rough-shod over their own science. Big Oil peddled the big lie. And like the tobacco industry, those responsible must be held to account,” Guterres said.
It is unclear whether ExxonMobil had any representatives in Davos, as they were not listed on the official attendee list. The company did not respond to a request for comment. In a previous statement to CNN , ExxonMobil expressed their commitment to being part of the solution to climate change.
A new report from Reclaim Finance reveals that many banks and financial institutions with net zero pledges are still investing in fossil fuels. Guterres has warned that this misleads consumers and investors, and leaves the door wide open to greenwashing.