“Models predict that the present trend of fossil fuel use will lead to dramatic climatic changes within the next 75 years…. Should it be deemed necessary to maintain atmospheric CO2 levels to prevent significant climatic changes, dramatic changes in patterns of energy use would be required.” A 1979 Exxon memo, one of many revealing finds from the investigations into the company’s attack on climate science.
Exxon, now ExxonMobil, knew very well of the dangers of anthropomorphic global warming. Their own people were telling them this through the 1970s and 1980s. But then, in the late 1980s, the corporation began to systematically corrupt politics and science by manufacturing a bogus “debate” to undermine what their own scientists were saying.
They were quite successful in their strategy. Many Americans — hampered by poor, if any, educations in science; an astonishing eagerness to believe in pseudo-science and conspiracy theories; and perhaps vestiges of primitive but still effective religious control — took the sharpened bait hook right through their television-slackened lips. As a result, efforts to reduce emissions and/or prepare for extreme climate events have been stymied, delayed, and undermined. Things are only getting worse and we are woefully unprepared.
Only the Pentagon has taken climate change seriously, knowing the political instability and social chaos that will result around the world from superstorms, flooding, droughts, and sea level rise will mean lots of business for them.
ExxonMobil followed exactly the murderous strategy of Big Tobacco, whose executives knew for decades that smoking caused cancers but lied and libeled to hide this fact. ExxonMobil’s tools in Congress and in the White House continue to devour the future.