Steve Coll, author, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, is in conversation with Greg Dalton of Climate One and The Commonwealth Club.
ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond said in 2000 that there was "no convincing scientific evidence" that carbon dioxide would disrupt the Earth's climate. Nine years later, CEO Rex Tillerson changed course and announced support for a carbon tax if it was revenue neutral and did not increase the size of government.
ExxonMobil's maneuvers on pricing carbon are just one theme running through Steve Coll's book Private Empire. He writes that ExxonMobil spends more money lobbying Congress than any other corporation and in some countries its influence towers above the US Embassy. Within the energy industry, it is regarded as a highly efficient and profitable corporate machine with strong safety standards and relatively low rates of accidents and spills.
Steve Coll is President and CEO of New America Foundation, and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. Previously he spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent and senior editor at The Washington Post, serving as the paper's managing editor from 1998 to 2004.
He is the author of six books, including The Deal of the Century: The Break Up of AT&T (1986); The Taking of Getty Oil (1987); Eagle on the Street, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the SEC's battle with Wall Street (with David A. Vise, 1991); On the Grand Trunk Road: A Journey into South Asia (1994), Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004); and forthcoming in 2008, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century.
Gregory Dalton is chief operating officer at the Commonwealth Club of California and Director of The Club's Climate 1 Initiative. He previously was international editor at The Industry Standard magazine, an editor for the Associated Press in New York, and a correspondent in China and Canada for the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper.
Proficient in both Mandarin and Cantonese, he is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.