OIL: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted global warming since 1970s, study finds

Study reveals oil giant’s research predicted global warming with up to 83% accuracy – AP

A closeup photo shows a side profile of a man with graying short hair, wearing glasses and frowning as he faces a microphone.
Lee Raymond, (left) the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, is pictured here during testimony on Capitol Hill, on Nov. 9, 2005, before a joint Senate Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about oil prices. A new study published in Science quotes him as saying in 1999 that climate projections are often based on ‘sheer speculation.’ (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)
Scientists with oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil made remarkably accurate predictions about global warming, even as the company made public statements that contradicted its own scientists’ conclusions, a new study has found.           

The study published in the journal Science finds that research funded by Exxon not only confirmed what climate scientists were saying at the time, but also used more than a dozen different computer models that forecasted the coming warming with precision equal to or better than government and academic scientists.

This was during the same time that the oil company publicly doubted that warming was real and dismissed climate models’ accuracy.

Exxon has defended itself, saying its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding the company’s earlier research.

 2022 was fifth-warmest year on record, new report says

 2022 was the fifth-warmest year on record, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, despite it being a La Nina year which would typically be cooler. That news is adding urgency to calls for Canada to prepare for the effects of more extreme weather.

Ex-Exxon chief dismissed climate models as ‘speculation’

Scientists, governments, activists and news sites, including Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times, several years ago reported that “Exxon knew” about the science of climate change since about 1977 all while publicly casting doubt.

What the new study does is detail how accurate Exxon-funded research was — from 63 per cent to 83 per cent of their projections fit strict standards for accuracy and generally correctly predicted that the globe would warm about 0.2 C a decade.

The Exxon-funded science was “actually astonishing” in its precision and accuracy, said study co-author Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard science history professor. She called out the company for “hypocrisy because so much of the Exxon Mobil disinformation for so many years … was the claim that climate models weren’t reliable.”

A sign for Exxon Mobil sits in the foreground. Behind it, smoke stacks rise into the sky and a large truck drives out of the refinery.
Exxon Mobil Billings Refinery sits in Billings, Mont. According to a new study, the company’s scientists were remarkably accurate in their predictions about global warming. (Matthew Brown/The Associated Press)

Study lead author Geoffrey Supran, who started the work at Harvard and now is an environmental science professor at the University of Miami, said this is different than what was previously found in documents about the oil company.

“Our analysis really seals the deal on ‘Exxon knew’,” Supran said. It “gives us airtight evidence that Exxon Mobil accurately predicted global warming years before, then turned around and attacked the science underlying it.”

The paper quoted then-Exxon CEO Lee Raymond in 1999 as saying future climate “projections are based on completely unproven climate models, or more often, sheer speculation,” while his successor in 2013 called models “not competent.”

Company defends itself, claims facts misrepresented

Company spokesman Todd Spitler said Exxon’s understanding of climate science developed along with the broader scientific community, and its four decades of research in climate science resulted in more than 150 papers, including 50 peer-reviewed publications.

“This issue has come up several times in recent years and, in each case, our answer is the same: those who talk about how ‘Exxon Knew’ are wrong in their conclusions,” Spitler said in an emailed statement.

“Some have sought to misrepresent facts and Exxon Mobil’s position on climate science, and its support for effective policy solutions, by recasting well intended, internal policy debates as an attempted company disinformation campaign.”

Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has been the target of numerous lawsuits that claim the company knew about the damage its oil and gas would cause to the climate, but misled the public by sowing doubt about climate change. In the latest such lawsuit, New Jersey accused five oil and gas companies including Exxon of deceiving the public for decades while knowing about the harmful toll fossil fuels take on the climate.

University of Illinois atmospheric scientist professor emeritus Donald Wuebbles told The Associated Press that in the 1980s he worked with Exxon-funded scientists and wasn’t surprised by what the company knew or the models. It’s what science and people who examined the issue knew.

“It was clear that Exxon Mobil knew what was going on,” Wuebbles said. “The problem is at the same time they were paying people to put out misinformation. That’s the big issue.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Seth Borenstein   is a journalist with The Associated Press.

– Below: Kaieteur News Cartoon – January 15, 2023

 

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Comments

  • Age  On 01/16/2023 at 4:52 pm

    People in Guyana, and people who visit Guyana are complaining that the weather is getting hotter and hotter.

    A humid heat, not the slight burning sensation you get in the midday sun. The heat engulfs the air.

    The heat is stifling and like being locked up near an oven.

  • wally  On 01/17/2023 at 12:21 pm

    Lets get an opinion from an “Expert” so we can handle the change the Universe needs…
    WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM UPDATE: John Kerry Says to Stop Climate Change We Need “Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money
    sign me up… now!!!!!

  • wally  On 01/18/2023 at 10:50 am

    This might be a good investment for the Government..you know if Musk agrees..usually damn good..

    Lets see how far this goes..

  • wally  On 01/18/2023 at 7:45 pm

    If carbon dioxide is so bad for the planet, why do greenhouse growers buy CO2 generators to double plant growth?
    I don’t know do you??

    • Chris  On 01/19/2023 at 3:18 am

      Greenhouse gases are generally misunderstood by most people. Without the greenhouse effect, life wouldn’t be possible on Earth and the crops won’t grow.

      Why?

      Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature on the planet would be -20 degrees Celsius as most radiated heat from the Sun would escape back to space.

      This delicate balance is threatened by the burning of fossil fuels, factory emissions, airplanes, etc. into the high atmosphere. As more heat is trapped in the stratosphere, over time, the surface temperature on Earth will increase.

      If the planet becomes too hot, it will threaten crops, generate dangerous weather patterns and, ultimately, doom us all.

      The greenhouse gases generated by growers is negligible compared to that coming from vehicle exhausts.

    • Chris  On 01/19/2023 at 12:56 pm

      As everyone knows from elementary school, plants absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) and emit O (oxygen).

      Carbon dioxide is used by plants for energy and photosynthesis. As more forests are chopped down and burned, there is less oxygen for us and the other species that depend on it to sustain life.

      Outer space is a very cold place and forbidding. And we should try to preserve the delicate balance and the planet’s natural elements for our very survival.

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