#ExxonKnew – and Chose to Lie

May 26, 2016

What climate deniers call “Free Speech”, the rest of us call lying.


Anna Kalinsky, the granddaughter of former Exxon climate scientist James Black, has berated the company for bankrolling climate change denial despite her grandfather’s attempts to inform the company of the risks of burning fossil fuels for the global climate.

In 1977 my grandfather was a senior scientist at Exxon. He warned Exxon executives that the world was just a few years away from needing to rethink our energy strategy to prevent destructive climate change,” Kalinsky says.

black_exxon“Instead, Exxon chose to mislead people about the risks of climate change – and continues to mislead people today. The company says they value their scientists and all the work they do, but that’s pretty hard to believe when they continue to fund organizations – both publicly and anonymously – that spread misinformation about the science.”

Kalinsky’s comments came during a call with media prior to ExxonMobil’s May 25 Annual General Meeting in Dallas, Texas, where shareholders will vote on a number of resolutions pertaining to climate change.

Kalinsky is slated to address ExxonMobil’s executives and speak about her grandfather’s scientific findings which were featured in a September investigative article by InsideClimate News.

As Kalinsky alluded to, Exxon spent $31 million dollars funding the climate change denial machine between 1998 and 2014 — by conservative estimates.

Among other climate-denying activity, Exxon still funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a “corporate bill mill” that has long denied the reality of human-caused climate change. ALEC has been singled out by ClimateTruth.org, which is calling on Exxon to drop its dues-paying membership with the organization.

Back in 1978, almost four decades ago, Black made ominous warnings about the potential perils of climate change to come if humanity did not stem fossil fuel usage and reverse course.

“In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Black told Exxon higher-ups, according to InsideClimate News’ reporting, in a presentation titled “The Greenhouse Effect.” “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

Remarking that Black was a “man of science,” Kalinsky offered her thoughts on how Black may feel today, were he still alive, about the direction Exxon took and the “road not taken” once it made scientific discoveries about climate change.

“He told my mother that a company is in trouble when it falls into the hands of the accountants,” Kalinsky stated. “I don’t think he’d be proud of the company he’d worked so hard for.”


20 Responses to “#ExxonKnew – and Chose to Lie”

  1. Tom Bates Says:

    With all due respect for this lady, the climate is not at present currently warming and has not depending on which data base for up to 58 years. Even the surface warming data set Giss shows no warming from 1940 to 1980 and only shows warming after that when they plug 66 percent of the data with estimates which are higher than the actual temperatures they replace. CO2 forcing which is what she is talking about has actually been measured. Once as the results are to dismal for the AGW folks. It was 2/10’s of a watt when solar gain is 1360 watts per sq. meter. That translates to a warming of 0.080F. Since CO2 forcing is a reducing function, IE, double the CO2 the forcing goes up about 6 percent, it will be a long long time before CO2 warms the world.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      most conservative data set from crazed denialist Roy Spencer. Even he can’t put a good face on this.

      Delusion much, Tom?

    • miffedmax Says:

      The challenge is, as always, publish your conclusions in a peer-reviewed science journal, and collect your Nobel prize.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        Think of these comment threads as fly-paper, and a shooting gallery.
        Fly paper for trolls, who can be occupied here so as to keep them from doing damage elsewhere.
        Shooting gallery for climate aware posters who want practice knocking down denialist memes.
        Admit it has a fish-in-a-barrel quality, but in this case, the fish are barely sentient, so guilt is minimized.
        My small public service.

    • Bates, you know *nothing* about global temperature data, and this claim of yours *proves* it:

      …and only shows warming after that when they plug 66 percent of the data with estimates which are higher than the actual temperatures they replace.

      That claim is utter and complete nonsense, and can easily be disproved by anyone with high-school math (through algebra-trig) and college-undergraduate computer programming skills.

      A basic temperature anomaly gridding/averaging program isn’t that hard to code up, and when used to process adjusted *or* raw GHCN temperature data, will produce global temperature results very similar to the official NASA land-temperature global-average results.

      In fact, the NASA temperature trend can be replicated very closely with data taken from as few as 30 stations scattered around the world. This holds true for raw as well as homogenized temperature data. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at the results I got when I ran raw and adjusted data taken from just 30 stations (all rural) through a simple global temperature program that I wrote — link here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0pXYsr8qYS6Y3hyQ1ZnamxVMWM/view?usp=sharing

      My adjusted and raw data results are plotted in blue and green, respectively. The official NASA results are plotted in red. My results are noisier than NASA’s of course; but that is to be expected because I used only 30 stations while NASA uses approximately 6,000.

      As anyone can easily see, my results completely disprove your ridiculous “they plugged 66 percent of the data” claim.

      I suggest that take your prevarication elsewhere.

    • otter17 Says:

      Hmmm, who to believe? A climate scientist working for Exxon Mobil who had reason to be biased towards denying the issue, but still came to conclusions that supported AGW or Mister Bates here?

      And such tortured explanation, too. Picking out certain periods within certain datasets and trying to cobble it all together into a word salad. You know we can just look up the graphs that show the ENTIRE datasets and see that you are just cherry picking certain time periods, right?

      Then again, your next trick would be just to claim the datasets were “faked” as you have claimed before. Such nonsense.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    “What climate deniers call “Free Speech”, the rest of us call lying.”

    Lying is protected speech.

    Tom Bates and Russell Cook come here and lie through their teeth. But their speech can not be censored by the government; it is Constitutionally-protected political speech should they decide to speak publicly. Of course, Peter can ban them from posting here any time he wants.

    Unfortunately, corporations now also have Constitutionally-protected free speech rights. Exxon has the right to lie. Heck, a Fox News affiliate sued for the right to lie on air as ‘news’ and won.

    There is, AFAIK, no American law outside of corporate advertising law and libel law, that provides penalties for deliberate lying. One exception might be that broadcasters who use American airwaves and/or bandwidths have charters that can be revoked if their broadcasts are not in the public interest. In my uninformed opinion, this means that it would be legal to effectively ban Fox News programming by revoking their broadcasting charter if it was found to be not in the public interest.

    So, Exxon has the right to fund deliberate lying about AGW. And, make no mistake about it, that is what they do.

    The question – as I have asked many times before – is whether their actions constitute a Crime against Humanity according to the International Criminal Court. I believe it does – in spades.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Should add contract fraud to libel and advertising law.

    • metzomagic Says:


      What about a corporation’s duty to their shareholders, not to mislead them about the corporation’s viability, when the corporation knows (obviously, for a long time now) that the only way to solve the AGW problem is to ‘keep it in the ground’?

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Seems to me the corporation’s viability has been just fine – trillions of net profit over the years, maintenance of all the superfluous subsidies they have enjoyed for a century.

        Plus, all their nefarious denier funding has only increased shareholder value.

        This is just weak tea, not their real crime, won’t apply to all the other guilty parties, and won’t result in anyone going to the gallows – which is what I want to see.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Sorry for the lateness of this reply but I was brought back here by a new post and am taking the long view. I’m not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure that in many jurisdictions commission of any felony opens them up to felony murder charges (sometimes goes under different names); that is, their lying led to deaths, which can be prosecuted. It doesn’t even have to be proved that their actions directly caused the deaths for the rule to apply. And there are millions of counts of felony murder here already and even more to come. That’s enough to put them away for geologic time scales.

          Should be enough to convince them to plead guilty in a truth and reconciliation process, turn over all documents, emails, etc. confess every related act, name names, give up all the money gotten while the illegal acts were being committed, and agree to never hold another position of responsibility in any kind of organization–business, government, non-profit, animal, vegetable, mineral, religious (don’t know about the legality of that).

    • metzomagic Says:

      In fact… a fossil fuel corporation management with just a modicum of forward thinking skills would have been kicking some of those huge profits back into researching renewable forms of energy, because they knew the day was coming when FF would no longer be viable.

      Then they could have made even more money by helping the world to build out the renewable technology that would save our bacon. But, no, next quarter’s profits and greed rule the day in the upper echelons of management at these places.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        So true. There they are – sitting on a mountain of cash just begging for new investment – and they missed the biggest energy market ever – the complete revamping of our energy system.

        THIS is the real way they failed a “corporation’s duty to their shareholders”. Them being …….. an energy expert and airing hundreds of greenwashing commercials over the years and all.

  3. […] Source: #ExxonKnew – and Chose to Lie | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  4. indy222 Says:

    The flat global temperatures during the ’50’s to the early ’70’s is well understood to be due to two effects: the Pacific Decadal Oscillation was in a cooling phase, and the growth in cooling aerosols (smog) by the major fossil fuel users of the time; the US and Europe. Combined with the much lower CO2 emissions then vs now. That all changed when we passed the Clean Air act, and by coincidence, the PDO shifted to a warm phase, and CO2 emissions accelerated to far above the ability of the natural ocean cycles to hide. This guy is a complete idiot, masquerading as some sort of voice of scientific reason. Note these trolls never answer back with refutations of the hard science such as shared here. They merely search, like vultures, for the next point of attack they think they can get away with. This is not the hallmark of honorable skepticism, it’s the hallmark of – liars. Call them out as just that, and forget decorum. They’ve wrecked all of our futures by counting on us buying into the “reasoned debate” meme, leaving the uninformed to figure the jury’s still out because they can’t be bothered to come up to speed on really grasping the physical science of it all.

  5. […] More from Peter Dykstra, PRI, the Guardian, the Albany Times-Union, Peter Sinclair and […]

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