Exxon’s own scientists confirmed the truth about climate change

 

-8

Beginning in the mid to late 1970s and continuing for more than a decade, a team of top scientists employed by Exxon investigated the question of man-made climate change and reached the following conclusions:

 

  • The burning of fossil fuels was leading to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere;
  • The buildup of CO2 would act as a blanket and inevitably lead to a warmer planet;
  • The effects of that warming could be catastrophic, and could be prevented only by a swift move away from fossil fuels.

Throughout that era, top leaders at Exxon were kept fully apprised of the research team’s work, which included research into how much CO2 the oceans could absorb as well as construction of its own climate models. Those internal models confirmed the warnings that were already coming out of climate models built at universities.

“Over the past several years a clear scientific consensus has emerged regarding the expected climatic effects of increased atmospheric CO2” one top Exxon scientist wrote in an internal company report way back in 1982 that is just now coming to light. “The consensus is that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-Industrial Revolution value would result in an average global temperature rise of (3.0 ± 1.5)°C.” (Equal to 5.4 ± 2.7°F).”

“There is unanimous agreement in the scientific community that a temperature increase of this magnitude would bring about significant changes in the earth’s climate, including rainfall distribution and alterations in the biosphere.”

Again, that was in 1982. And note words such as “clear scientific consensus” and “unanimous agreement.”

That and many other memos have been uncovered in a lengthy and remarkable investigation by reporters at InsideClimateNews. Based on company documents and interviews with former employees, Exxon was deeply interested in the research question because it feared climate change might curtail the use of fossil fuels, forcing a global switch to renewable or alternative fuels. As an act of due diligence, company executives wanted to know where the science was headed, and what better way than to do its own work.

In another memo uncovered by ICN reporters, an Exxon scientist had prepared a report to a senior vice president in 1981 in which he concluded that at least in the early decades of the 21st century, the consequences of warming would be “well short of catastrophic.”  A more senior Exxon scientist took issue with that slightly reassuring conclusion:

8_18_1981 R W Cohen memo to W Glass-2

ICN has yet to publish the final chapter of its six-part series, this one documenting how, beginning in 1989, Exxon decided to reject and bury the findings of its own scientists and instead begin funding front groups that would deny the existence of global warming and “muddy the waters” so that no effective action could be taken.

But that didn’t mean that the company took its own advice.

The Los Angeles Times has documented that while Exxon was publicly arguing that the science behind climate change was too unsettled to justify taking action, it was taking a much different attitude internally. For example, it was trying to figure out how to deal with the impact of a warming planet on its own drilling and pipeline operations in the Arctic Ocean, where rising sea levels, melting icecaps and the collapse of permafrost all would have an impact.

As the L.A. Times reports:

“Using the models and data from a climate change report issued by Environment Canada, Canada’s environmental agency, the (Exxon) team concluded (in 1991) that the Beaufort Sea’s open water season — when drilling and exploration occurred — would lengthen from two months to three and possibly five months.

They were spot on….

Today, as Exxon’s scientists predicted 25 years ago, Canada’s Northwest Territories has experienced some of the most dramatic effects of global warming. While the rest of the planet has seen an average increase of roughly 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years, the northern reaches of the province have warmed by 5.4 degrees and temperatures in central regions have increased by 3.6 degrees.”

For years now, Exxon and other corporate skeptics of climate science have been accused by critics of following the example set by the tobacco industry in trying to deny and obscure what the science was telling us. Internal industry documents have revealed that tobacco officials knew full well that their products kill people, but they were willing to lie about and hide that evidence for decades to protect their profits.

And now we have definitive evidence that ExxonMobil, the largest refiner in the world and the world’s largest private-sector oil company, was doing the exact same thing.

Reader Comments 0

748 comments
straker
straker

Nick

Consumed


I'd love to see some Republican sauce for the Gander.


A lengthy number of Republican war crimes hearings would be good.


Of course, I'd like to win the lottery, too.

RantNRave
RantNRave

"Carly Fiorina. She dropped from 15 percent to four percent in the last month. Seems like that massive debate bump evaporated when people took a second look."


@Kamchak 


The lying wicked witch got caught being dishonest and her record at HP


was the nail in her coffin.


R I P you wicked witch of the GOP !

straker
straker

Normd - "war crimes"


Maybe the Democrats will hold special hearings.

'


RantNRave
RantNRave

@consumedconsumer @straker


Looks like the CONS are backed into a corner.......thanks to McCarthy and Gowdy !!!


Game over for the CONS after Hillary testifies !

gotalife
gotalife

Now that webb is out the other republican mole chaffee should do the same.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Trump/Carson 2016? Trump isn't ruling it out as the two lead in another poll

"Well I like him, he likes me. I mean, stranger things have happened," Trump said, though he also pointed out it's too early to make such decisions. For one thing, Trump would have to get the nomination (no way would his ego allow him to be second on the ticket). The dream's still alive as long as Trump leads in polls, though, and the latest CNN/ORC poll again shows him leading, with 27 percent. Carson is in second with 22 percent. One person whose chances of being on a hilarious presidential ticket appear to have dimmed: Carly Fiorina. She dropped from 15 percent to four percent in the last month. Seems like that massive debate bump evaporated when people took a second look.

gotalife
gotalife

Obama wants to take your guns trump said. He knows how push cons buttons. The gop establishment is at war with cons and trump.


biden said republicans are not his enemy but the gop do not hold endless hearings or attack him like a criminal. If he runs he will lose for the third time badly so what is the point. Hillary will ride the President's coat tail with the President's 51 % that will go higher.

ByteMe
ByteMe

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News says state authorities are taking another look at reports of a cancer cluster in south Georgia:

O’Neal said Wednesday that based on new information, Public Health has confirmed three childhood cases of rhabdomyosarcoma and one case of Ewing sarcoma in and near Ware County, in the southeast corner of Georgia.

Relatives and community members say the four cases were diagnosed within two months of one another this summer.

What are the odds the cause is environmental?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@ByteMe 

The CSX property in Waycross is a toxic site, I believe.  Could it be related?

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

creossote plant upstream in Jefferson Davis county - hey, it writes itself

Peachs
Peachs

@ByteMe the are so determine to isolate themselves down there in south Georgia that if some of this happens it may go on for years before they fess up to the cause. If stubborn only effected you have at it but it effects a whole state of people cut off from the world because of misinformation. 

honested
honested

@Visual_Cortex 

Will he follow the 'independent route' he had been grumbling about?

OR 

Will he jump in the clown car?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@honested @Visual_Cortex

no, and no.

I guess he might get behind a Kasich candidacy if he really wanted to stick it to the Dems, but I kinda doubt he'll go that route.

ByteMe
ByteMe

JESUS FOR PRESIDENT!


He'll heal the sick and cut our healthcare costs without Obamacare!

He'll feed the poor and reduce the number of EFT cards needed!

He'll keep us out of wars by turning the other cheek!


Nah... the cons wouldn't vote for him anyway.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak and he's dark-skinned... that's gonna hurt his chances in the southern states.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

was just talking to jesus this morning, he's trimming the palmettos by the gate.

No, just kidding! my yard man is white heheheh

Jesus is a brown socialist immigrant who gives out free fish, bread, & healthcare. What were YOU thinking, the Republicans would nevah vote fer HIM...

Kamchak
Kamchak

What do the SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS ! think about Exxon's revelation?

honested
honested

@Kamchak 

Nothing.

Since EXXON is a bastion of the past, they no doubt give them everlasting loyalty.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak They're sure Gruber and a private email server was involved.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@honested 

To be fair, posting SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS ! is a magical incantation that is supposed to conjure a new topic from our host.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Kamchak She's being referred to as the "debate candidate", since the only time we hear about her is during a debate... after that, poof!

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

We have clean air and clean water.

Libs want both antiseptic.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

World government, another lib tenant.

John Lennon "Imagine" on a playlist loop...

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Government has an essential role in society. No one debates that.

But too much of anything is a bad thing. Libs' appetite for central control is insatiable.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Philo_Farnsworth "too much of anything is a bad thing"


Exactly.  Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is too high.  Why don't we get the governments of the world to take some steps to reduce and eliminate human caused Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere (and oceans for that matter)? 

I don't see companies doing this voluntarily. It'll take regulations, incentives, taxes, and fines.  

Paul42
Paul42

@Philo_Farnsworth

Good to read the first sentence, Philo.  As far as the second, it would give more credibility to cons' points if they would get specific and not simply transition to broad generalities.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@DownInAlbany Why do you repeat yourself?

You repeat yourself... why?


If you don't know what :) means, I can't help you.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Philo_Farnsworth clean air and clean water. 


How did that happen?  Did companies voluntarily say "we like to keep things clean" or did the government have to pass regulations to keep companies from polluting? 


We are still polluting, by the way, so the air still isn't as clean as it should be. Water isn't always as clean as you think, either. And some jurisdictions, water is quite unsafe.