Oil tycoon John D Rockefeller in his later years Hulton Archive, Getty Image

Rockefellers Dump Exxon Holdings That Made Family's Fortune

The Rockefeller Family Fund concluded there is “no sane rationale” for companies to explore for oil amid government crackdowns on carbon emissions, with Exxon firing back that the Rockefellers are “already funding a conspiracy against us.”

Descendants of John D. Rockefeller sold their Exxon Mobil Corp. stock and plan to dump all other fossil-fuel investments in the latest move against the industry that made their fortune.

The Rockefeller Family Fund concluded there’s “no sane rationale” for companies to explore for oil as governments contemplate cracking down on carbon emissions, according to a statement on the website of the New York-based philanthropic foundation Wednesday.

The fund singled out Exxon, the world’s biggest oil explorer by market value, for what it called “morally reprehensible conduct,” a reference to a series of articles last year by InsideClimate News that alleged the oil titan knew about global warming as far back as the 1970s and sought to hide what it knew from investors, policymakers and the public. The Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund both are listed as financial backers of InsideClimate News on its website.

“It’s not surprising that they’re divesting from the company since they’re already funding a conspiracy against us,” Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon, said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

Exxon, which traces its roots to the 1880s and John D. Rockefeller’s integration of refineries and Pennsylvania oilfields, has dismissed the InsideClimate News allegations as products of “anti-oil and gas activists who cherry-picked documents” to distort the company’s role in climate research.

Fossil-fuel investments represent about 6% of the Rockefeller Family Fund’s $130 million in holdings, Lee Wasserman, director of the foundation, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

By Joe Carroll

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