Does Tillerson Know what Exxon Knew?

February 1, 2017

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.

And then there’s this.



4 Responses to “Does Tillerson Know what Exxon Knew?”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    “Did Tillerson know?”
    YES. And he’s known for DECADES.

  2. indy222 Says:

    Doubtless he knew; but I think Rex will just argue it was prudent insurance on Exxon’s part to plan for the rising temps and sea level, as fulfilling his fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Reprehensible, but from what’s posted up top here, I don’t see it exposes him to higher liability risk under RICO.

  3. webej Says:

    It’s hard to decide whether he’s just down right cynical and doesn’t care what happens to the world or humankind or whether he has convinced himself that there is more than enough time and possibilities for adaptation. He has (grand) children, so it’s unlikely he consciously thinks: après nous le déluge. On the other hand, sabotaging climate summits with false information and advertisement seems pretty manipulative and dark; he hasn’t perjured himself in court about it yet (like tobacco executives).

    He’s probably convinced himself that for his kind it will be possible to adapt to a 2° or 4° warmer planet, and that it would ruin the economy to move too fast: a lot of people are able to rationalize the craziest things. If he does support a carbon tax, it’s still a glint of light.

  4. songhees Says:

    I would like to tell you of my latest book, “Human Caused Global Warming”.
    Available on ‘’ and ‘Indigo/Chapters’.

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