The Definition Of Rich

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David Kaiser, is a fifth-generation Rockefeller and the head of a family fund fighting Exxon Mobil. Credit Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The saying “that is rich” means, in this case, something more like–Really, Exxon Mobil?

Exxon Mobil Accuses the Rockefellers of a Climate Conspiracy

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Exxon Mobil, under fire over its past efforts to undercut climate science, is accusing the Rockefeller family of masterminding a conspiracy against it. Yes, that Rockefeller family.

The company, which has been accused of scheming to pay surrogates to deny the threat of climate change, is trying to turn the tables by calling its opponents the real conspirators. It is fighting state attorneys general, journalists and environmental groups in an all-out campaign to defend its image.

But the oil and gas giant has directed some of its fiercest fire at the descendants of John D. Rockefeller, who in 1870 founded Standard Oil, the company that became Exxon Mobil. Rockefeller family charities, longtime backers of environmental causes, have supported much of the research and reporting that has called the company to account for its climate policies, and Exxon Mobil is crying foul.

The pressure on the company is intense. Journalists have published exposés of the company’s research into climate change, including actions it took to incorporate climate projections into its exploration plans while playing down the threat. Such reporting projects, financed in part by Rockefeller family charities, included last year’s work by Inside Climate News and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which published its results with The Los Angeles Times. The findings have been boiled down to the popular Twitter shorthand #ExxonKnew.

Exxon Mobil, in public statements, court filings and thick dossiers on the company’s opponents, says it is the target of a well-funded and politically motivated conspiracy to harm its core business.

Yet where Exxon Mobil and its allies see a tangled conspiracy, members of the Rockefeller family see an effort to use the vast wealth generated by fossil fuels to combat the damage done by fossil fuels…

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