Rockefeller Family charity pulls funds from Exxon Mobil over longtime climate change cover-up

© Jessica Rinaldi
The Rockefeller Family Fund is cashing in all of its investments in ExxonMobil, citing “morally reprehensible conduct.” The multimillion dollar charity is also divesting itself from all fossil fuel companies over the industry’s stance on climate change.

“We would be remiss if we failed to focus on what we believe to be the morally reprehensible conduct on the part of ExxonMobil,” the family fund wrote in its announcement.

Set up in 1967 by descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the charity has long invested its funds in the oil industry up until now.

“These are not decisions, therefore, that have been taken lightly or without much consideration of their import,” the fund wrote after reviewing its investment strategies.

The decision stems from a particular case involving ExxonMobil’s controversial decades-old research on fossil fuels and climate change.

“Evidence appears to suggest that the company worked since the 1980s to confuse the public about climate change’s march, while simultaneously spending millions to fortify its own infrastructure against climate change’s destructive consequences and track new exploration opportunities as the Arctic’s ice receded,” the Rockefeller family wrote.

In November of 2015, the state of New York launched an investigation into whether the largest US gas and oil company had misled the public and investors about the risks of climate change. A similar inquiry has been opened in California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The decision of Rockefeller Family Fund did not come as a surprise at ExxonMobil.

“It’s not surprising that they’re divesting,” the company told CNBC. “The Rockefeller Family Fund provided financial support to InsideClimate News and Columbia University Journalism School which produced inaccurate and deliberately misleading stories about ExxonMobil’s history of climate research.”

The Fund also announced that it was going to eliminate holdings in all other all coal and tar sands-based companies “as quickly as possible.”

“Indeed, it is past time for all people of good will to do everything in their collective power to make our new path one that recognizes the deep interdependence between humanity’s future and the health of our natural systems,” the Rockefeller Family Fund said.