2001 State Department Briefing for Exxon’s Randol Meeting

The briefing was sent to Paula Dobriansky, who in 2001 was the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. She was also the head of delegation and the lead negotiator on US climate change policy[NN1]. The document was authored by then Acting Assistant Secretary for The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) Ken Brill. The document provides background information and talking points for Dobriansky’s July 25th meeting with Randy Randol, Senior Environmental Advisor at ExxonMobil. This meeting was one of a series of meetings Dobriansky held with the fossil fuel industry and its representatives in the summer and fall of 2001.

This meeting was arranged through Randol’s connections with former ExxonMobil board-member, then Ambassador-designate to Sweden, Charles Heimbold. Heimbold wanted a chance for Exxon to stress its “perspectives on the climate change debate that are not consistent with the science that has supported our climate policy until now.” The State Department foresaw ExxonMobil’s reticent stance on addressing climate change, but enlisted Dobriansky to emphasize similarities between the President’s agenda and Exxon’s.

The final talking point of the memo emphasized the positive relationship the Bush administration wanted to maintain with industry, while seemingly at odds with sage climate science: “Appreciate the input of friends: DOC, DOE and other agencies will move forward to strengthen our understanding of the science and improve the technology for reducing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases; we will, however, continue to rely on input from industry and other friends as to what constitutes a realistic market-based approach.”

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