Everything You Need to Know About Thursday’s Big Oil Hearing

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Everything You Need to Know About Thursday’s Big Oil Hearing
Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at an “End Fossil Fuel” rally near the U.S. Capitol on June 29, 2021 in Washington, DC, with protestors holding signs in the background with slogans such as "Keep It in the Ground" and "Off Fossil Fuels."
Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at an “End Fossil Fuel” rally near the U.S. Capitol on June 29, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Photo: Anna Moneymaker (Getty Images)

Big Oil has had a reckoning with the public. It’s had a reckoning in court. And on Thursday, it will have a reckoning in front of Congress’ most powerful committee.

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The House Oversight Committee will host four oil leaders and two trade groups that have spread misinformation to account for their role in confusing the public on climate change. The hearing has been likened to a 1994 appearance by Big Tobacco CEOs before Congress. But in some ways, the hearing on Thursday will be more consequential.

Fossil fuels have played a key role in driving the economy—and pushing the planet to the brink of destruction. Those twin achievements have been tied to Big Oil’s decades of deception; scientists inside the companies like Exxon and Shell knew that burning fossil fuels worsened the climate crisis. But rather than change course, oil companies spent millions to sow doubt about if their product caused the climate crisis, allowing them to sink their tentacles further into the global economy. The hearing will be a chance for Congress to probe that history, and how companies have turned to greenwashing more recently in an effort to stay essential.

How to Watch Congress’ Big Oil Hearing

The hearing kicks off at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. The Oversight Committee is helpfully livestreaming it. And we’re helpfully embedding it here.