Exxon Mobil correctly predicted the warming in 1970s

Exxon Mobil correctly predicted the warming in 1970s

DENVER (AP), — Exxon Mobil scientists proved to be remarkably precise in their prediction of global warming. However, the company also made statements contradicting its scientists’ findings, according to a study.

Science Thursday published a study that examined Exxon-funded research. It didn’t only confirm the statements of climate scientists, it also used over a dozen computer models to forecast future warming that were as accurate or better than academic and government scientists.

This happened at the exact same moment that Exxon publicly doubted the reality of global warming and dismissed the accuracy of climate models. Exxon stated that its knowledge of climate change has improved over time and critics misunderstand its older research.

Many years ago, scientists, government officials, activists, and news sites including Inside Climate News, Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Times reported that Exxon had known about climate change science since 1977, while also publicly denying it. The new research reveals how exact Exxon-funded research was. The projections were accurate to within a range of 63%-83%. They generally forecast that the world would heat up by.36 degree (.2 Celsius) per decade.

Naomi Oreskes (a Harvard professor of science history), said that the Exxon-funded science was “actually amazing” in terms of its accuracy and precision. She said that this was due to the Exxon Mobil’s disinformation over many years, which included the assertion that climate models were not reliable.

Geoffrey Supran was the study’s lead author. He started his work at Harvard, and is now an environmental science professor at University of Miami.

We have looked into the text, rhetoric, and data. “And I would say that in this sense, our analysis truly seals the deal about ‘Exxon known’,” said Supran. This “gives us strong evidence that Exxon Mobil correctly predicted global warming many years ago, and then attacked the science behind it.”

In 1999, Lee Raymond, then CEO of Exxon, stated that future climate projections were based on “completely unproven climate models or more frequently, sheer speculation.” His successor, however, called these models “not competent” in 2013.

Exxon and the wider scientific community developed a greater understanding of climate science. The company’s four-decades of research on climate science led to more than 150 papers including 50 peer reviewed publications.

Spitler stated in an email that “this issue has been brought up many times over the years” and reiterated his belief in an answer: those who speak about Exxon Knew are incorrect in their conclusions. Exxon Mobil’s climate science position and support for policy solutions have been misrepresented by some. This was done through a recasting of internal policy discussions that were well-intentioned as a disinformation campaign against the company.

Exxon is one of the largest oil- and gas companies in the world. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the company alleging that it knew the effects of its oil and gasoline on the environment, and mislead the public to create doubts about climate change. New Jersey sued five major oil-and gas companies, including Exxon, for deceiving consumers over decades. They also knew about the damaging effects fossil fuels have on the environment.

California to New York have brought similar lawsuits alleging that Exxon, along with other oil companies, launched public relations campaigns in an effort to raise doubts regarding climate change. Maura Shealey, the Massachusetts Attorney General at the time, stated that Exxon’s public affairs efforts “reminiscent of the long-running denial campaigns by the tobacco industry about the dangers of smoking.”

Oreskes admitted in the study she was a consultant paid by a law firm that sued Exxon in the past. Supran, however, has received a grant through the Rockefeller Family Foundation which also helps fund Exxon-related groups. Rockefeller provides some foundation support to the Associated Press, but they retain full editorial control.

Exxon and Shell, oil giants, were charged in Congress hearings 2021 with spreading misinformation regarding climate change. However, executives at the companies refuted the allegations.

Donald Wuebbles, University of Illinois’s atmospheric scientist emeritus, told The Associated Press in 1980 that he had worked with Exxon funded scientists. He wasn’t surprised at the information or models the company provided. This is what scientists and those who studied the topic knew.

Wuebbles stated that Exxon Mobil was aware of what was happening. The problem was that they paid people to spread misinformation. This is the main problem.

Oreskes stated that there is a distinction between “hype” and “spin” companies use to convince you to purchase a product, or for politicians to win your vote. Oreskes also said that Exxon used “outright lies… misrepresenting facts and that was what Exxon did.”

Many activists and scientists outside the Exxon group said that what the Exxon study revealed about Exxon’s actions was serious.

Jonathan Overpeck, University of Michigan’s environment dean said that Exxon caused enormous damage. They knew fossil fuels like oil and natural gas would significantly alter the climate of the Earth in ways that could be devastating for lives and human suffering, as well as economic consequences. Yet, they chose to downplay climate change’s dangers and its impact on people and planet despite their knowledge.

Natalie Mahowald, Cornell University’s climate scientist asked “How many thousand (or more?) of lives were lost or adversely affected by Exxon Mobil’s deliberate campaign for obscuring the science?”

Critics claim that Exxon’s climate change past actions undermine the company’s claims of reducing its emissions.

InfluenceMap, which analyzes data about how corporations are influencing the climate crisis and tracks Exxon and other corporate lobbying, found that Exxon was lobbying against the Paris Agreement’s goals and is currently one of the largest and most influential companies holding back climate policies.

Faye Holder is the program manager at InfluenceMap. “All of our research suggests that efforts to stop climate action continue to this day. Prioritizing oil and gas industry values from the “potentially existsential” threat by climate change rather than the opposite,” she said.

While the messages of delay and denial may appear different, the intent is the same.


Bussewitz reported in New York.


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