Dirty Energy Clean-Up; Or, Palimpsest of the ExxonMobil CEO’s April 2023 Letter to Shareholders & Center for Biological Diversity’s U.S. Species Threatened by Fossil Fuels.

Our ability to significantly improve our cost structure and profitably grow our businesses    [nation’s threatened and endangered wildlife] helped improve earnings resiliency and fortify our balance sheet [plants, birds and fish] while increasing flexibility to navigate future down cycles [impacts of our fossil fuel addiction in the United States]. And through it all, we shared our success with shareholders [Graham’s penstemon], reclaiming our position as the industry leader in total shareholder returns [Kentucky arrow darters], increasing the annual dividend [whooping cranes] for the 40th consecutive year, and returning approximately $30 billion [polar bears] to shareholders [keep our vow to protect America’s wildlife]. The strength of our business and financial position have enabled up to $35 billion of cumulative share repurchases  [tan riffleshell growth] over the next two years. 

While our full-year 2022 results clearly benefited from a buoyant market [report highlights ten species that are particularly vulnerable to the pursuit of oil, gas and coal], our strategy to invest counter-cyclically, combined with the hard work and commitment of our people, drove our financial performance [outsized reliance on fossil fuels and the impacts that result from its development, storage and transportation] well above [below] that of our competitors. We can help meet the world’s growing need for stable supplies of energy and essential products [Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and spectacled eiders] while also reducing our own and others’ emissions in support of a lower-emission future [bowhead whales]. For us, this is not an “either/ or” proposition. Rather, it’s an “and” equation. We can increase supply  [greater sage grouse] and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – strengthening energy security [dunes sagebrush lizards] and advancing a thoughtful energy transition [Wyoming pocket gophers]. Thank you for investing in ExxonMobil and for your ongoing support.

Candice M. Kelsey [she/her] is a poet, educator, activist, and essayist from Ohio and living bicoastally in L.A. and Georgia. Her work appears in Passengers Journal, Variant Literature, and The Laurel Review among others. A finalist for a Best Microfiction 2023, she is the author of six books. Candice also serves as a poetry reader for The Los Angeles Review. Find her @candice-kelsey-7 @candicekelsey1 and www.candicemkelseypoet.com.