Exxon has known about climate change since 1977

Exxon had known about climate change since 1977, 11 years before the issue became public, according to a recent research from InsideClimate News. But that knowledge didn't stop the company (now ExxonMobil the world's largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change.

It even promoted climate misinformation – an approach that many have likened to the tobacco industry's lies about the health risks of smoking. Both industries knew that their products would not remain profitable if people understood the risks. Companies used the same consultants to develop strategies for how to communicate with the public.


Experts, however, are not surprised.

"We never thought they didn't understand science," says Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. As it turns out, Exxon not only understood the science, but actively engaged in it. In the 1970s and 1980s she employed top scientists to look into the matter and launched her own ambitious research program that took empirical samples of carbon dioxide and constructed rigorous climate .

Exxon also spent more than $1 million on a tanker project investigating how much CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans. It was one of the biggest scientific questions of the time, meaning that Exxon was truly conducting unprecedented research.

In their eight-month investigation, the journalists of InsideClimate News they interviewed former Exxon employees, scientists and federal officials and analyzed hundreds of pages of internal documents.

They found that the company's knowledge of climate change dates back to July 1977, when the company's senior scientist James Black delivered a chilling message.

"In principle, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely way in which humanity affects the global climate is through the release of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels," Black told Exxon's management committee.

A year later he warned Exxon that a doubling of CO2 gases in the atmosphere would increase the average global temperature by two or three degrees—a number that is in line with scientific reality today.

He even went on to warn that "current thinking suggests that man has a five to 10 year window before he is forced to make critical and tough decisions about changes in energy strategies."

In other words, Exxon had to act.

But ExxonMobil disagrees: "We didn't come to those conclusions, nor did we try to bury it as they say." mentionedand ExxonMobil spokesman Allan Jeffers told Scientific American. "What shocks me the most is that we've been saying this for years, that we've been involved in climate research. These guys are going down and pulling some documents that we made public in the archives and presenting them as some kind of revelation."

One thing is certain: in June 1988, when NASA scientist James Hansen told a congressional hearing that the planet was already warming, but Exxon was publicly convinced that the science was still controversial.

In addition, experts agree that Exxon has become a leader in confusion campaigns. By 1989 the company had helped create it Global Climate Coalition (disbanded in 2002) to question the scientific basis for concern about climate change. It also helped prevent the US from signing the international climate treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol in to control greenhouse gases.

Η τακτική της Exxon όχι μόνο λειτούργησε στις ΗΠΑ, αλλά εμπόδισε και άλλες χώρες, όπως η Κίνα και η , να υπογράψουν τη συνθήκη.

Experts are still trying to piece together the Exxon puzzle. Last summer, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a complementary investigation to that of InsideClimate News, also known as Climate Deception Dossiers (Pdf).
In the research above there is also a quote that says something like "Victory will be achieved when the average person is uncertain about climate science".

Since then, Exxon has spent more than $30 million on think tanks promoting climate change denial, according to Greenpeace. While experts will never be able to quantify the damage Exxon's misinformation has caused, "one thing is for sure, we've lost a lot of ground," Kimmell says.

Half of the greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere were released after 1988. “If the fossil fuel companies had gotten involved in this issue and been part of the solution instead of the problem, we would have made a lot of progress [today] instead of doubling emissions greenhouse gases".

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

One Comment

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  1. ExxonMobil. The very close partner and possibly - in part - subsidiary of the oil company Halliburton.
    Of Halliburton, which had Richard Bruce Cheney (Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney) as an invisible, but essentially its leader. The well-known "Dick"...

    Dick, the man Dick who has been described as "the most powerful vice president in American history."
    The "strongest vice president" over the NOW powerless ... president of the USA, George Bush the second (call me: give me a slap and take my soul and the presidency, but they will call you vice president) ...

    I could also make a reference to Greenpeace, but it's out of the question

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