Exxon scientists accurately forecast climate change back in the 1970s – what if we had listened to them and acted then?

Wed, 8 Feb 2023 20:11:45 +1100

Andrew Pam <xanni [at] glasswings.com.au>

Andrew Pam

"Writers of speculative- and science-fiction often identify a key point in time
and explore how a seemingly insignificant event might change the path of

One of these moments came in the 1970s when oil giant Exxon chose to ignore its
own commissioned research on the impact of fossil fuels. A new analysis
published in the journal Science has found that Exxon’s forecasts from that
era have proven incredibly accurate, yet it did not act to prevent its own
predictions from happening.

Instead, the company chose to maintain its role as an oil company and fund
people to question the science and delay a coherent response. Staggeringly, in
1996 the company’s chief executive, Lee Raymond, referred to “the unproven
theory that [fossil fuels] affect the earth’s climate”. The company, now known
as ExxonMobil, denies the allegations, saying “those who talk about how ‘Exxon
Knew’ are wrong in their conclusions”.

So what if the senior executives of Exxon had seen their own research as a
business opportunity? Here’s one way things might have worked out."

       *** Xanni ***
mailto:xanni@xanadu.net               Andrew Pam
http://xanadu.com.au/                 Chief Scientist, Xanadu
https://glasswings.com.au/            Partner, Glass Wings
https://sericyb.com.au/               Manager, Serious Cybernetics

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