It turns out the oil industry has known about climate change for decades. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) republished a 1968 document written by two scientists at the Stanford Research Institute. The study presented to the American Petroleum Institute detailed the environmental dangers associated with burning fossil fuels, but, as we all know by now, the industry chose to keep those dangers to themselves.
Scientists Elmer Robinson and R.C. Robbins said in the report that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could bring about “serious worldwide environmental changes.”
“Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bring about climate change. If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans, and an increase in photosynthesis,” the scientists wrote. “It is clear that we are unsure as to what our long-lived pollutants are doing to our environment; however, there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe.”
The report is just one piece of evidence that the oil industry knew about climate change and then covered it up. Even further back, in 1946, oil and gas executives gathered together and decided to fund pollution research. According to CIEL, those discoveries were then buried so profits wouldn’t take a hit. This scathing evidence is backed up by “hundreds of documents.”
ExxonMobil also researched climate change and then disregarded their own findings for about 27 years. They created a company team that linked climate change and fossil fuels, but they then spent millions of dollars funding climate change denial.
Scientist Michael Mann likened the oil industry to the tobacco industry, which covered up the dangers of cigarettes for many years. CIEL President Carroll Muffett called for answers. “Oil companies had an early opportunity to acknowledge climate science and climate risks, and to enable consumers to make informed choices,” she said. “They chose a different path. The public deserves to know why.”
Via The Guardian