What Exxon knew about the Earth’s melting Arctic

Even while oil proponents have campaigned to dismiss the harmful effects of fossil fuels on climate change, a new investigative report published by the LA Times documents that since the 1970s Exxon has been funding its own internal science as well as research from outside experts at Columbia University and MIT to understand how a warming planet might help and hurt their operations.

Ken Croasdale, senior ice researcher for Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, was leading a Calgary-based team of researchers and engineers studying how global warming could affect Exxon’s operations and its profits.  Their conclusion: greenhouse gases are rising “due to the burning of fossil fuels,” Croasdale told an audience of engineers at a conference in 1991. “Nobody disputes this fact.”

“The good news for Exxon” he said, was that “potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs” in the Beaufort Sea.  The bad news: the melting arctic was likely to cause massive environmental damage to the world.  See:  What Exxon knew about the earth’s melting Arctic

“Between 1986, when Croasdale took the reins of Imperial’s frontier research team, until 1992, when he left the company, his team of engineers and scientists used the global circulation models developed by the Canadian Climate Centre and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to anticipate how climate change could affect a variety of operations in the Arctic.

These were the same models that — for the next two decades — Exxon’s executives publicly dismissed as unreliable and based on uncertain science. As Chief Executive Lee Raymond explained at an annual meeting in 1999, future climate “projections are based on completely unproven climate models, or, more often, on sheer speculation.”

It is time to start massive class action lawsuits against the companies and politicians that have knowingly and through willful blindness, chosen to enable profits for a few at the expense of everything else.

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