2015’s Most Underreported Story: What Exxon Knew
December 31, 2015
Oil giant Exxon was studying climate change impacts in the 1970s and 80s, and their projections from 35 years ago accurately portray what is happening now.
Knowing what they knew, they chose to continue business as usual.
Now this astounding article in the LA Times.
A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.
“Let’s face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil,” the ad said. “Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur.”
One year earlier, though, engineers at Mobil Oil were concerned enough about climate change to design and build a collection of exploration and production facilities along the Nova Scotia coast that made structural allowances for rising temperatures and sea levels.
“An estimated rise in water level, due to global warming, of 0.5 meters may be assumed” for the 25-year life of the Sable gas field project, Mobil engineers wrote in their design specifications. The project, owned jointly by Mobil, Shell and Imperial Oil (a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon), went online in 1999; it is expected to close in 2017.
The United States has never ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions.
A joint investigation by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environmental Reporting Project and the Los Angeles Times earlier detailed how one company, Exxon, made a strategic decision in the late 1980s to publicly emphasize doubt and uncertainty regarding climate change science even as its internal research embraced the growing scientific consensus.
By all means, go to the link and read the entire, jaw-dropping piece.
Anyone with any doubts about whether Exxon will be vulnerable to a RICO action needs to read this.