Friday, July 10, 2015

E-mail proves Exxon knew about man made climate change back in 1981 yet still spent millions to promote denial of that truth.

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial. 

The email from Exxon’s in-house climate expert provides evidence the company was aware of the connection between fossil fuels and climate change, and the potential for carbon-cutting regulations that could hurt its bottom line, over a generation ago – factoring that knowledge into its decision about an enormous gas field in south-east Asia. The field, off the coast of Indonesia, would have been the single largest source of global warming pollution at the time. 

“Exxon first got interested in climate change in 1981 because it was seeking to develop the Natuna gas field off Indonesia,” Lenny Bernstein, a 30-year industry veteran and Exxon’s former in-house climate expert, wrote in the email. “This is an immense reserve of natural gas, but it is 70% CO2,” or carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change. 

However, Exxon’s public position was marked by continued refusal to acknowledge the dangers of climate change, even in response to appeals from the Rockefellers, its founding family, and its continued financial support for climate denial. Over the years, Exxon spent more than $30m on thinktanks and researchers that promoted climate denial, according to Greenpeace.

It should be noted that recently Exxon stated that they no longer fund climate change denial, which of course would be more impressive if it did not come 27 years too late.

There are of course other fossil fuel companies still spending millions to undermine the scientific findings, and I think we can all assume that they know the truth just like Exxon did way back in 1981.

They are murdering our planet in the name of profits, and we are still allowing it to happen.


  1. Anonymous3:07 AM

    They are nothing more than the tobacco industry on steroids.

  2. Anonymous6:33 AM

    "Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that you can't eat money."
    -- Cree Indian Proverb

  3. Anonymous6:49 AM

    Gryph, I enjoy your site, and have read it occasionally for years. Let me just state that I believe in global warming, and that it is a serious business.

    However, my father is a prominent geologist who worked for oil companies all his life. I will not give out his credentials, but let's just say he was one of the top people at one of the top oil companies. He does not believe that the impact man has on the climate is significant enough for us to worry about. He is, however, extremely concerned about the coming scarcity of oil and is very much for saving as much fossil energy as we can now.

    So no, not all oil companies knew, I can guarantee you that. Be it denial or a protection mechanism, the community of geologist that he belongs to does not consider global warming an issue. I see some of the emails they send each other now that some are in the conference circuit or advise government entities on energy, and I haven't seen a single voice accepting climate change as anything else than an elaborate hoax or something we cannot do anything about anyway. And again, let me stress: my dad believes oil should be preserved, that we should not drive individual cars, because when oil inevitably runs out and its price skyrockets, mass air travel will go the way of the dinosaurs and our way of life will change. So he is a stong advocate for making renewable energy a top priority and thinks policies like "drill baby drill" are idiotic, lazy and selfish.

    1. Anonymous8:23 AM

      With all due respect to your dad, he's wrong. Honestly, I doubt your father does research on climate change - most oil company geologists don't. For he and his supposed colleagues to claim climate change is an elaborate hoax makes me wonder what conferences they're attending. Perhaps those sponsored by the Koch's? Yes, I'll bet they do advise government agencies, or those that influence said agencies.

      I've worked in environmental research for 30 years. Ninety-seven percent of scientist that RESEARCH this subject, agree that global warming is man-induced. If your father or his fellow geologists have solid data or evidence to the contrary, they really should publish it in a reputable scientific journal for peer review.

    2. Anonymous10:21 PM

      The point is not that he is wrong or right, the point is that he was pretty high up at a large oil company and did not believe - not in global warming - but that the current global warming is a big issue.

      I am perfectly willing to accept that most at Exxon had no idea, in just the same way.

      His conferences are things like what the AAPG organizes:

      When they say "However, our planet has been far warmer and cooler today than many times in the geologic past, even within the past 10,000 years." how much of an existential threat do you think they believe human made climate changes to be ?

  4. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Nothing against geologists, but their field is geology, not climatology.

    I grew up in the oilfield, and the only way a person with a conscience can work in the industry is to convince themselves that climate change is a hoax. Otherwise, you have to get out because you can't stand to look at yourself in the mirror anymore knowing that your actions are going to cause hardship for future generations.

  5. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Wow! Exxon's profit-at-all-costs dishonest climate-denialism campaign is a huge story. It will be interesting to see how much coverage this gets by the corporate media and whether Democrats will make this a big 2016 campaign issue.

    And maybe I woke up in an especially cynical, pissy mood but I imagine similar comments to 6:49am are following this news story around the www.

  6. Just plain criminal, or criminally insane?

  7. Monsanto and Bayer, producers of pesticides, esp. neonicotinoids, have bought out companies that do bee research. Talk about the fox being in charge of studying chicken colony collapse.

    What makes you thing Exxon or any of the other companies are any different?

    It's all about money, which is to say lying and greed.

  8. Anita Winecooler7:25 PM

    Big Oil, Pharma, and Tobacco will pay for the studies that get the results they want. It's oall about big money. I want real science and people with ethics to get where we need to be before it's too late.
    We're building our "retirement home", had energy star compliant plans drawn up, and now we have to wait. The town we're moving to doesn't have building codes on the books for Energy Star Compliant energy efficiency, without them, we can't get permits, inspections, etc. Active/Passive Solar, Wind, and Thermodynamic are foreign terms. And most of the suppliers are on the West Coast and Canada.


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.