Well, they haven't avoided confrontation in that they are front and center in the debate about emissions and carbon footprints. They have all the money they need to use lobbying as an effective way of defeating legislation or stripping it of anything that would be effective, and their employees are extremely good at their jobs on that score.
They try to avoid being the other side of the debate because of their public face and what they represent: Big Profits and Big Pollution. So they have created "institutes" of "research" and hired scientists to question the validity of Global Warming and Climate Change science.
In the end, they know that humans, Americans especially, do not wantto change the way they live, when doing anything they want vis-a-vis the environment is more convenient and pleasant in the near term. Fossil Fuel lobbies play to our human nature on that score.