Is Exxon changing its stance on climate change under new chairman Rex Tillerson?

That is the question posed yesterday by the New York Times. “If Rex W. Tillerson has his way, Exxon Mobil will no longer be the oil company that environmentalists love to hate … Mr. Tillerson has gone out of his way to soften Exxon’s public stance on climate change”.

“We recognize that climate change is a serious issue,” Mr. Tillerson told the paper: “We recognize that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors affecting climate change.”

Exxon says that although the company has adopted a more concillatroy tone, its position on climate change has not ochanged, only been clarified.

“It’s the same old wine in a new bottle,” argues Fadel Gheit, a longtime industry analyst at Oppenheimer & Company in New York. “You can’t expect a company this size to change on a dime, but you might see changes in how it projects its image to the public, to its clients.”

Shawnee Hoover, the campaign director of Exxpose Exxon, a coalition of the nation’s leading environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club says simply: “Exxon has this prehistoric culture.”

So Exxon may have changed colour to a slightly greener dinosaur under its new chairman, but it’s still a dinosaur and you know what happened to them.