The US House Committee on Oversight and Reform (“US House Committee”) last month invited board members from ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, and BP to provide documentation and testify on whether their companies’ commitments to cut emissions are consistent with the Paris Agreement.

The US House Committee has placed particular emphasis on scrutinizing pledges relating to cuts in emissions and investment in alternative energies and technologies.

The first round of interviews in October 2021, with executives from the largest oil and gas companies in the US, initially focused on alleged historic deception regarding the perils of burning fossil fuels.

The focus then turned to investigating potential current climate-washing. This second round of interviews was scheduled to begin yesterday (8 February 2022). However, the invited board members all declined to attend. The panel has scheduled a new hearing for 8 March to give time to board members to testify under oath.

It is not only private entities and activists that are challenging climate commitments. Investigations and interventions by governmental and trade bodies at a regulatory level are emerging as part of the same trend in challenging climate-related statements by the carbon majors.