Exxon Mobil veep: ‘It’s not easy being us’

Exxon Mobil Corp. may have wanted the takeaway message from its briefing today on world energy supply and demand to be about the ways technology is opening up new power options for consumers around the globe.

Instead, another message rang loud and clear: It’s hard at the top.

The Irving, Texas oil giant — which jockeys with Apple to be United States’ biggest firm — is among the companies targeted by environmental activist Bill McKibben, who has pressed universities to divest their financial holdings in fossil fuel firms. Exxon Mobil also is bashed in an advertising campaign that says the company “hates your children.”

“It’s not easy being us,” quipped Kenneth Cohen, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of public and government affairs, after a questioner brought up the efforts.

Cohen added that Exxon is challenged “to continue to produce the energy that the world runs on but do it in a way that shows a lower greenhouse gas emission footprint.”

“The world is going to continue to run for the next several decades on conventional fuels,” Cohen noted. “Going forward, it’s all about technology. How do we come up as an industry with new technologies that . . . produce the energy that runs the world but does so with a lower environmental footprint.”

Cohen also highlighted Exxon Mobil’s investments in natural gas, which produces fewer emissions when burned to generate electricity than coal.