ExxonMobil has knowingly misled the public for decades about the danger climate change poses to a warming world and the oil giant’s long-term viability, according to a peer-reviewed study.
There’s peer reviewed and peer reviewed of course.
“Using social science methods, we found a gaping, systematic discrepancy between what Exxon said about climate change in private and academic circles, and what is said to the public.”
As early as 1979, when climate change barely registered as an issue for the public, Exxon was sounding internal alarms.
“The most widely held theory is that… the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to fossil fuel combustion,” an internal memo from that year read.
A peer-reviewed study by Exxon scientists 17 years later concluded that “the body of evidence… now points towards a discernable human influence on global climate”.
At the same time, however, the company was spending tens of millions of dollars to place editorials in the New York Times and other influential newspapers that delivered a very different message.
“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” Exxon said in 1997, as the Bill Clinton administration faced overwhelming opposition in Congress to US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
It’s entirely possible that all three statements are true you know. That climate change is true, happening, and also that overturning the entire global economy isn’t a good idea….
Or as is true more generally, that something needs to be done does not mean that it is this thing which needs to be done.