Study Proves Exxon Spent Millions Misleading Public About Climate Change


An academic study published Tuesday in the journal of Environmental Research Letters at IOPScience provides more evidence that oil giant ExxonMobil spent millions of dollars misleading the American public on climate change

While it’s not a new revelation that Exxon has intentionally misled the public regarding climate change, a Harvard team of climate scientists prove it beyond a doubt through a peer-reviewed study on Exxon’s role in swaying public opinion on climate change over the past 25 years, a first of its kind.

Although Exxon conducted their own research acknowledging both climate change and the human role in its increasing severity, the oil giant was not public about this internal research program and instead has been on the skeptical side of the climate change debate for decades.  In 2015, Exxon issued a challenge on their website urging critics of their stance and communications regarding climate change to “read the documents”

In a study titled Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014), climate scientists Drs. Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University took Exxon up on their challenge and read the documents, only to find that Exxon did indeed mislead the public about climate change.

Supran painted an intense picture for the energy company, saying,

“The ExxonMobil corporation is under a lot of scrutiny right now, on at least five fronts — we’ve got the Attorneys General of Massachusetts and New York, we’ve got the securities exchange commission, and not to mention some of Exxon’s own shareholders and employees. Basically, they’re all asking roughly the same question and that’s has ExxonMobil in the past, through the way it’s communicated about climate change, misled its customers, its shareholders, or the general public?”

It turns out, they did.

While Exxon promoted skepticism about climate change through advertorials in large publications such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Exxon had its own research team that acknowledged the danger of fossil fuels to the environment and its increasing risk and contribution to inducing global climate change, but kept it behind closed doors.

The study is published at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa815f

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