Exxon predicted global warming in 1970s despite publicly dismissing climate change, research finds | Climate News

Scientists working at oil giant Exxon Mobil in the 1970s predicted global warming with “startling” accuracy even though the company publicly denied the research, a study has found.

The study found that Exxon’s research, which dates back to 1977, used about a dozen state-of-the-art computer models that correctly predicted the world would warm by about 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade.

Exxon scientists predicted the climate crisis on par with or better than government and academic research at the time.

But the oil company publicly cast doubt on suggestions that climate change was real and rejected the accuracy of studies modeling future global warming.

The new study, published in the journal Science, found that between 63% and 83% of Exxon’s historical research met rigorous academic standards of accuracy.

Read more: Climate Change: What Progress Has Been Made?

The study’s co-author, Harvard history of science professor Naomi Oriskes, said the Exxon research was “really surprising” because she cited the company’s “hypocrisy” because Exxon Mobil had so much information for so many years… no”.

A trove of internal documents released by a former Exxon employee in 2015 shows the company knew about climate change years before it became a public issue.

But the new study reveals the validity and extent of Exxon’s internal research.

Exxon spokesman Todd Spitler said the company’s understanding of climate science has evolved alongside the broader scientific community, and its four decades of research in climate science have resulted in more than 150 papers, including 50 of them. Also included are peer-reviewed publications.

“This issue has come up many times in recent years and, in each case, our answer is the same: People who talk about ‘Exon Knew’ are wrong in their conclusions,” he said.

“In 2019, NY State Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager heard all the facts in a related case before him and wrote: ‘The evidence presented at trial is that ExxonMobil executives and employees alike did their duties seriously. were obligated to pay along. In the most comprehensive and thorough manner possible…. The testimony of these witnesses demonstrated that ExxonMobil has a culture of disciplined analysis, planning, accounting and reporting.”

But the study’s lead author, Jeffrey Spran from the University of Miami, said: “Our analysis really seals the deal on ‘Exon knew.’

“[It] Gives us clear evidence that Exxon Mobil correctly predicted global warming years ago, then turned around and attacked the science behind it.”

In the study, former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond said in 1999 that future climates are “based on completely unproven climate models, or more often, on sheer speculation”.

Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has faced several lawsuits alleging that the company knew how much fossil fuels harmed the environment.

Along with other oil companies, Exxon was also accused in 2021 of US congressional hearings for spreading climate misinformation. Company executives have denied the allegations.

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