ExxonMobil is America's biggest oil company. But you wouldn't know from its recent ad "CO2 Emissions: An Energy Quiz."

ExxonMobil Trying to Move Past Its History

"When electricity is generated with natural gas instead of today's most used source," asks the narrator, "how much are CO2 emissions reduced?" After giving some multiple choice answers, the highball choice of "up to 60 percent" is revealed to be true. "That's a big reason why the U.S. is a leader in reducing CO2 emissions." Viewers are then encouraged to go on ExxonMobil webpage for more "energy quiz" questions.

The implicit suggestion of the ad is the ExxonMobil is helping cut carbon emissions with its natural gas production. ExxonMobil could only imply the claim in the ad could because recent press has revealed that the company’s carbon emissions are continuing to increase—a month before this ad aired, the Wall Street Journal reported "Exxon, Shell Carbon Emissions Rise Though Pumping Drops." Furthermore, ExxonMobil was ranked the 14th-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the country for 2013 and the second-biggest emitter in the history of the world.

No More Global Warming Denials From ExxonMobil

What's notable about the ad is that ExxonMobil and its media consultants do not want the reputation as a contributor to global warming. It was not that long ago when Exxon Mobil was running advertisements disputing the reality of human-driven climate change. But a 2006 change in CEO led the company to cut back on funding climate science deniers and move toward acceptance.

Even the Wall Street Journal's report notes the company is trying to change its practices and be seen as part of the solution: "Exxon noted the trend in higher emissions... was undesirable."

The energy quiz web page promoted by the ad eventually takes users to the company's 2040 Outlook For Energy, which aims to balance the company's desire to show the world needs more fossil fuel energy to meet growing demand with assurances it is mindful of the consequences greenhouse gas pollution. It's a fine line for an oil and gas company to walk.

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