Exon Mobile polluted the discussion about climate change with public ads meant to reach millions that disparaged the science that identified climate change and global warming and the link with fossil fuel emissions as well as increased atmospheric carbon dioxide while having in their possession private research confirming these same facts. Their private research even stated the results as potentially catastrophic.
Wonder what Mr. Tillerson has to say about this?
Story By Dominique Mosbergen
From the article: “…For the peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters Wednesday, two Harvard researchers analyzed nearly 200 documents related to Exxon Mobil’s climate change communications. The researchers found that America’s largest oil producer had repeatedly made “explicit factual misrepresentations” about global warming in advertisements aimed at the general public, while simultaneously acknowledging its risks behind closed doors.
“Our findings are clear: Exxon Mobil misled the public about the state of climate science and its implications,” study authors Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran wrote in a New York Times op-ed this week. “Available documents show a systematic, quantifiable discrepancy between what Exxon Mobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change in private and in academic circles, and what it presented to the general public.”
The discrepancy, the researchers said, was staggering. About 80 percent of Exxon Mobil’s research and internal memos acknowledged that climate change was real and caused by humans. However, 80 percent of the company’s newspaper ads regarding climate change questioned this fact, the study found.
An internal Exxon Mobil memo penned in 1979, for instance, acknowledged a possible link between fossil fuel combustion and an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Another memo from 1982 described “potentially catastrophic events” that could arise from climate change, such as the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet.
A peer-reviewed study conducted by Exxon Mobil scientists in the 1990s concluded “the body of evidence ... now points towards a discernible human influence on global climate.” Another one from 2002 found that limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could be needed to “forestall coral reef bleaching, thermohaline circulation shutdown, and sea level rise.”
But in 1997, the same year that the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, Exxon Mobil released an ad that called the science of climate change “too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil.” A 2000 Exxon Mobil advertorial in The New York Times described climate change as an “unsettled science.”
The oil giant has previously defended itself by saying that it has never “suppressed climate change research.” But Oreskes and Supran said in their study that “the question is not whether Exxon Mobil ‘suppressed climate change research,’ but rather how they communicated about it.”
Exxon Mobil’s peer-reviewed studies about climate change weren’t widely distributed or readily available to the general public, while their ads were meant to reach millions, the researchers noted.
The company had “really good scientists,” Oreskes, a history of science professor, told the Times. “That finding then makes the contrast with the advertorials that much more notable.”…”