ExxonMobil CEO Ralph Tillerson has a comforting message on climate change - don't worry, be happy - we'll adapt.
Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain, he said.
Tillerson blamed a public that is "illiterate" in science and maths, a "lazy" press, and advocacy groups that "manufacture fear" for energy misconceptions, in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He highlighted that huge discoveries of oil and gas in North America have reversed a 20-year decline in US oil production in recent years. He also trumpeted the global oil industry's ability to deliver fuels during a two-year period of dramatic uncertainty in the Middle East – the world's most important oil and gas-producing region.
"No one, anywhere, any place in the world has not been able to get crude oil to fuel their economies," he said.
Of course, Tillerson's message can be taken several ways depending on just how you define "adapt" and just who you include or exclude from "we." I'm pretty sure Tillerson and the rest of the board of directors of ExxonMobil will "be able to adapt." By the way, is this the same ExxonMobil that hasn't coughed up the damages it owes for the Exxon Valdez disaster?