ExxonMobil climate change controversy

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The ExxonMobil climate change controversy concerns ExxonMobil's activities related to climate change, especially their views on climate change skepticism. Since the 1970s, ExxonMobil engaged in research, lobbying, advertising, and grant making, some of which were conducted with the purpose of delaying widespread acceptance and action on global warming.

From the late 1970s and through the 1980s, Exxon funded internal and university collaborations, broadly in line with the developing public scientific approach. From the 1980s to mid 2000s, the company was a leader in climate change denial, opposing regulations to curtail global warming. ExxonMobil funded organizations critical of the Kyoto Protocol and seeking to undermine public opinion about the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Exxon helped to found and lead the Global Climate Coalition of businesses opposed to the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. More recently it has expressed support for a carbon tax and the Paris agreement.

Early research

From the late 1970s and through the 1980s, Exxon, one of predecessors of ExxonMobil, had a public reputation as a pioneer in climate change research.[1] Exxon funded internal and university collaborations, broadly in line with the developing public scientific approach, and developed a reputation for expertise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).[2] Between the 1970s and 2015, Exxon and ExxonMobil researchers and academic collaborators published dozens of research papers.[3] ExxonMobil provided a list of over 50 article citations from that period.[4][5]

In July 1977, a senior scientist of Exxon James Black reported to company's executives that there was a general scientific agreement at that time that the burning of fossil fuels was most likely manner in which mankind was influencing global climate change.[6][7][8] In 1979–1982, Exxon conducted a research program of climate change and climate modeling, including a research project of equipping their largest supertanker Esso Atlantic with a laboratory and sensors to measure the absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans.[9][10] In 1980, Exxon analyzed in one of their documents that if instead of synthetic fuels such as coal liquefaction, oil shale, and oil sands the demand for fuels to be met by petroleum, it delays the atmospheric CO2 doubling time by about five years to 2065.[11][12] Exxon also studied ways of avoiding CO2 emissions if the East Natuna gas field (Natuna D-Alpha block) off Indonesia was to be developed.[13]

In 1981, Exxon shifted its research focus to climate modelling.[14] In 1982, Exxon's environmental affairs office circulated an internal report to Exxon's management which said that the consequences of climate change could be catastrophic, and that a significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption would be necessary to curtail future climate change. It also said that "there is concern among some scientific groups that once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible."[15]

In 1992, the senior ice researcher, leading a research team in Exxon's Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil, assessed how global warming could affect Exxon's Arctic operations, and reported that exploration and development costs in the Beaufort Sea might be lower, while higher sea levels and rougher seas could threaten the company's coastal and offshore infrastructure.[16][17] Imperial included these forecasts into its facility planning in the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories. In 1996, Mobil Oil, another predecessor of ExxonMobil, calculated the climate changes effect to the Sable gas field project. An ExxonMobil spokesperson said that standard practice in major project planning is to consider a range of factors, and that ExxonMobil's consideration of environmental risks was not inconsistent with their public policy advocacy.[18]

In 2016, the Center for International Environmental Law, a public interest, not-for-profit environmental law firm, claimed that from 1957 onward Humble Oil, one of predecessors of nowadays ExxonMobil, was aware of rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming. ExxonMobil responded to this claim that "to suggest that we had definitive knowledge about human-induced climate change before the world's scientists is not a credible thesis."[19]

Funding of climate change denial

In 1989, shortly after the presentation by the Exxon's manager of science and strategy development Duane LeVine to the board of directors which reiterated that introducing public policy to combat climate change "can lead to irreversible and costly Draconian steps," the company shifted its position on the climate change to publicly questioning it.[1][20] This shift was caused by concerns about the potential impact of the climate policy measures to the oil industry.[1] A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2015 found that ExxonMobil "may have played a particularly important role as corporate benefactors" in the production and diffusion of contrarian information.[21]

Of the major oil corporations, ExxonMobil has been the most active in the debate surrounding climate change.[22] In 2005, as competing major oil companies diversified into alternative energy and renewable fuels, ExxonMobil re-affirmed its mission as an oil and gas company.[23] According to a 2007 analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the company used many of the same strategies, tactics, organizations, and personnel the tobacco industry used in its denials of the link between lung cancer and smoking.[24] ExxonMobil denied similarity to the tobacco industry.[25]

During 1990s and 2000s Exxon helped advance climate change denial internationally.[26][27] ExxonMobil was a significant influence in preventing ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the United States.[28] ExxonMobil funded organizations critical of the Kyoto Protocol and seeking to undermine public opinion about the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Exxon was a founding member of the board of directors of the Global Climate Coalition, composed of businesses opposed to greenhouse gas emission regulation.[29][30][31] According to Mother Jones magazine, between 2000 and 2003 ExxonMobil channelled at least $8,678,450 to forty organizations that employed disinformation campaigns including "skeptic propaganda masquerading as journalism" to influence the opinion of the public and political leaders about global warming.[32][33] ExxonMobil has funded, among other groups, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, Heartland Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the International Policy Network.[34][35][36] Since the Kyoto Protocol, Exxon has given more than $20 million to organizations supporting climate change denial.[37]

Between 1998 and 2004, ExxonMobil granted $16 million to advocacy organizations which disputed the impact of global warming.[38] Of 2005 grantees of ExxonMobil, 54 were found to have statements regarding climate change on their websites, of which 25 were consistent with the scientific consensus on climate change, while 39 "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence," according to a 2006 letter from the Royal Society to ExxonMobil. The Royal Society said ExxonMobil granted $2.9 million to US organizations which "misinformed the public about climate change through their websites."[39] According to Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, ExxonMobil contributed about 4% of the total funding of what Brulle identifies as the "climate change counter-movement."[40] The Drexel research found that much of the funding that direct sourcing from companies like ExxonMobil and Koch Industries was later diverted through third-party foundations like Donors Trust and Donors Capital to avoid traceability.[41] In 2006, the Brussels-based watchdog organization Corporate Europe Observatory said "ExxonMobil invests significant amounts in letting think-tanks, seemingly respectable sources, sow doubts about the need for [European Union] governments to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Covert funding for climate sceptics is deeply hypocritical because ExxonMobil spends major sums on advertising to present itself as an environmentally responsible company."[42]

In 2006, the Royal Society expressed "concerns about ExxonMobil's funding of lobby groups that seek to misrepresent the scientific evidence relating to climate change."[43] Between 2007 and 2015, ExxonMobil gave $1.87 million to Congressional climate change deniers and $454,000 to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ExxonMobil denied funding climate denial.[44] ExxonMobil is a member of ALEC's "Enterprise Council", its corporate leadership board.[45]

In January 2007, ExxonMobil vice president for public affairs Kenneth Cohen said that, as of 2006, ExxonMobil had ceased funding of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and "'five or six' similar groups".[46] While ExxonMobil did not identify the other similar groups, a May 2007 report by Greenpeace listed five groups "at the heart of the climate change denial industry" ExxonMobil had stopped funding, as well as 41 similar groups which were still receiving ExxonMobil funds.[47]

In May 2008, ExxonMobil pledged in its annual corporate citizenship report that it would cut funding to "several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention" from the need to address climate change.[48] In 2008, ExxonMobil funded such organizations[49] and was named one of the most prominent promoters of climate change denial.[50] According to Brulle in a 2012 Frontline interview, ExxonMobil had ceased funding the climate change counter-movement by 2009.[40] According to the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, ExxonMobil granted $1 million to climate denial groups in 2014.[51][52] ExxonMobil granted $10,000 to the Science & Environmental Policy Project founded by climate denial advocate, physicist, and environmental scientist Fred Singer[53][54] and earlier funded the work of solar physicist Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon, who said that most global warming is caused by solar variation.[55]

In the fall of 2015, InsideClimate News published a series of reports on an eight month investigation based on decades of internal Exxon Mobil files and interviews with former Exxon employees, which stated "Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial, manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed."[56] Exxon responded to the article by saying the allegations were based on cherry-picked statements from ExxonMobil employees and noting the ongoing climate research the company engaged in during the time in question.[5] The company also denied claims made by InsideClimate News that it had curtailed carbon dioxide research in favor of climate denial. Exxon's statement said the drop in oil prices hurt oil companies in the 1980s and caused research cut backs. The statement also claimed that it was uncertain if increases in greenhouse gas emissions caused significant warming, or if immediate action on climate change was necessary.[57]

From 1989 till April 2010, ExxonMobil and its predecessor Mobil purchased regular Thursday advertorials in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal that said that the science of climate change was unsettled.[58][59][60] In 2000, responding to the 2000 US First National Assessment of Climate Change, an ExxonMobil advertorial said "The report's language and logic appear designed to emphasize selective results to convince people that climate change will adversely impact their lives. The report is written as a political document, not an objective summary of the underlying science."[61] Another 2000 advertorial published in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal entitled "Unsettled Science" said "it is impossible for scientists to attribute the recent small surface temperature increase to human activity."[62][63][64] The content analysis of Exxon Mobil's and its precessors' internal reports, peer-reviewed research papers, and advertorials Exxon placed in the op-ed section of The New York Times between 1972 and 2001, by Harvard University researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes found that "83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents [from Exxon] acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt". The research concluded that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science but promoted doubt about it in advertorials.[65][66] The report was criticized by ExxonMobil and the Independent Petroleum Association of America because of the incomplete sampling of data collected by Greenpeace, authors' involvement in the #ExxonKnew campaign, and partial financing by the Rockefeller Family Fund.[60][67] Also the fact that Exxon and Mobil were separate companies during much of the period in question was mentioned as the climate research was primarily conducted by Exxon while the advertorials were primarily from Mobil.[60]

Lobbying against emissions regulations

Lee Raymond, Exxon and ExxonMobil chief executive officer from 1993 to 2006, was one of the most outspoken executives in the United States against regulation to curtail global warming,[68]

In February 2001, the early days of the administration of US President George W. Bush, ExxonMobil's head lobbyist in Washington wrote to the White House urging that "Clinton/Gore carry-overs with aggressive agendas" be kept out of "any decisional activities" on the US delegation to the working committees of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and recommending their replacement by scientists critical of the prevailing scientific consensus on climate change. The chairman of the IPCC, climate scientist Robert Watson, was replaced by Rajendra K. Pachauri, who was seen as more industry-friendly.[56][69][70][71] A spokesperson for ExxonMobil said the company did not have a position on the chairmanship of the IPCC.[72]

On June 14, 2005 ExxonMobil announced they would hire Philip Cooney, four days after Cooney resigned as chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Bush White House, two days after the non-profit Government Accountability Project release documents which showed that Cooney had edited government scientific reports so as to downplay the certainty of the science behind the greenhouse effect.[73][74][75] Thomas Friedman wrote in The New York Times, "Of all the people the Bush team would let edit its climate reports, we have a guy who first worked for the oil lobby denying climate change, with no science background, then went back to work for Exxon. Does it get any more intellectually corrupt than that?"[76]

Some researches say that ExxonMobil's strategy succeeded to delay the world's response to climate change,[77] others are not sure if company's different behavior would brought a different outcome.[27]

Acknowledgement of climate change

In 2007, ExxonMobil for the first time disclosed to stockholders the financial risks to profitability of climate change.[18] Even that, however, came only in the form of boilerplate language in their Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K citing the threat to operations and earnings posed by "laws and regulations related to environmental or energy security matters, including those addressing alternative energy sources and the risks of global climate change"[78] rather than acknowledging the risks posed by climate change itself or by the company's contribution to it.[79] In January 2007, ExxonMobil vice president for public affairs Kenneth Cohen said "we know enough now—or, society knows enough now—that the risk is serious and action should be taken".[46] On February 13, ExxonMobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson acknowledged that the planet was warming while carbon dioxide levels were increasing, "but in the same speech gave an unalloyed defense of the oil industry and predicted that hydrocarbons would dominate the world’s transportation as energy demand grows by an expected 40 percent by 2030. [Tillerson] stated that there is no significant alternative to oil in coming decades, and that ExxonMobil would continue to make petroleum and natural gas its primary products."[80][81]

In April 2014, ExxonMobil released a report publicly acknowledging climate change risk for the first time. ExxonMobil predicted that a rising global population, increasing living standards and increasing energy access would result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.[82]

ExxonMobil is dismissive of the fossil fuel divestment movement, writing on ExxonMobil's blog in October, 2014 that fossil fuel divestment was "out of step with reality" and that "to not use fossil fuels is tantamount to not using energy at all."[83][84][85]

Exxon routinely uses an internal shadow price on CO2 in its business planning.[86][87] In December 2015, following similar earlier announcements, Exxon noted that if carbon regulations became a requirement, the best approach would be a carbon tax.[88]

State and federal investigations

In May 2015 Sheldon Whitehouse suggested in The Washington Post that the federal prosecution of the tobacco industry might set a precedent for the oil industry.[89] In October, Whitehouse, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey issued a letter to Exxon questioning their donations to Donors Trust, a group which funds climate change denial.[90] On October 14, 2015, Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier wrote to the United States Attorney General (US AG) requesting an investigation into whether ExxonMobil violated any federal laws by "failing to disclose truthful information" about climate change.[91][92] Asked about the letter by The Guardian, an Exxon spokesperson said "This is complete bullshit. We have a 30 year continuous uninterrupted history of researching climate change..."[93]

On October 30, 2015, more than 40 leading US environmental and social justice organizations wrote to the US AG requesting a federal investigation into ExxonMobil deceiving the public about climate change.[94] Former Vice President Al Gore and all three Democratic primary candidates for President of the United States called for a Department of Justice investigation.[95][96] Marjorie Cohn, law professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, called for the revocation of ExxonMobil's articles of incorporation.[97][98]

The New York Attorney General is investigating whether ExxonMobil's statements to investors were consistent with the company's decades of extensive scientific research.[99][100] The Martin Act in New York state law gives the state Attorney General broad powers to investigate financial fraud.[101] On November 4, 2015 the New York Attorney General issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil.[102] The New York Attorney General investigation includes possible violations of consumer protection, fraud, and securities law. ExxonMobil denied withholding climate change research.[103] Following published reports, based on internal Exxon documents, suggesting that during the 1980s and 1990s Exxon used climate research in its business planning but simultaneously argued publicly that the science was unsettled, the California Attorney General is investigating whether ExxonMobil lied to the public or shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change, possible securities fraud, and violations of environmental laws. ExxonMobil denied wrongdoing.[104][105]

On March 29, 2016, the attorneys general of Massachusetts and the United States Virgin Islands announced investigations. Seventeen attorneys general were cooperating on investigations. Exxon said the investigations were "politically motivated."[106][107][108] In June, the attorneys general of the United States Virgin Islands withdraw the subpoena.[109] As of June 2016, ExxonMobil is suing the attorneys general of Massachusetts Maura Healey.[110]

Relations with the Rockefeller family

Beginning in 2004, the descendants of John D. Rockefeller Sr., led mainly by his great-grandchildren, through letters, meetings, and shareholder resolutions, attempted to get ExxonMobil to acknowledge climate change, to abandon climate denial, and to shift towards clean energy.[111][112] In 2013, responding to a shareholder resolution calling for emissions reductions, CEO Rex Tillerson asked, "What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?"[113]

In March 2016 the Rockefeller Family Fund announced plans to "eliminate holdings" of ExxonMobil.[114] The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund both backed reports suggesting that ExxonMobil knew more about the threat of global warming than it had disclosed. David Kaiser, grandson of David Rockefeller Sr. and president of the Rockefeller Family Fund, said that the "...company seems to be morally bankrupt." Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, daughter of former Senator Jay Rockefeller, said, "What we would hope from Exxon is that they would admit what they've done -- these decades of denial..."[115] In November 2016 ExxonMobil accused the Rockefeller family of masterminding a conspiracy against the company.[116][115]

Kaiser wrote in December 2016, "Our criticism carries a certain historical irony. John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, and ExxonMobil is Standard Oil’s largest direct descendant. In a sense we were turning against the company where most of the Rockefeller family’s wealth was created."[117]

Other climate change activities

Beginning in 2002, ExxonMobil has invested up to US$100m over a ten-year period to establish the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University, which "would focus on technologies that could provide energy without adding to a buildup of greenhouse gases".[118][119] According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "The funding of academic research activity has provided the corporation legitimacy, while it actively funds ideological and advocacy organizations to conduct a disinformation campaign."[120]

Selected ExxonMobil climate research collaborations

  • Garvey, Edward A.; Prahl, Fred; Nazimek, Kenneth; Shaw, Henry (March 1982). "Exxon global CO2 measurement system". IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. IM-31 (1): 32–36. doi:10.1109/TIM.1982.6312509. 
  • Kheshgi, Haroon (October 13, 2015). "Exxon Mobil Contributed Peer Reviewed Publications" (PDF). ExxonMobil. Retrieved January 30, 2016.  (bibliography)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Jennings, Grandoni & Rust 2015
  2. ^ Jerving et al. 2015: Since the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Exxon had been at the forefront of climate change research, funding its own internal science as well as research from outside experts at Columbia University and MIT.
  3. ^ Gillis & Schwartz 2015: From the time the scientific community first began worrying about the climate issue in the 1970s, the company financed research on the topic, with its scientists generally supporting an emerging consensus that fossil fuel emissions could pose risks for society. Company scientists have contributed to dozens of scientific papers that supported this view and explored the extent of the risks.
  4. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015b: "ExxonMobil scientists have been involved in climate research and related policy analysis for more than 30 years, yielding more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed publications."
  5. ^ a b Cohen, Ken. "When it Come to Climate Change, Read the Documents". ExxonMobil Perspectives. ExxonMobil. Retrieved Jan 31, 2016. 
  6. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015b: "By 1977... he made a presentation to the company's leading executives warning that carbon dioxide accumulating in the upper atmosphere would warm the planet and if the CO2 concentration continued to rise, it could harm the environment and humankind."
  7. ^ Black 1978 What is considered the best presently available climate model for treating the Greenhouse Effect predicts that a doubling of the C02 concentration in the atmosphere would produce a mean temperature increase of about 2°C to 3°C over most of the earth.
  8. ^ Hall 2015: ...the company's knowledge of climate change dates back to July 1977, when its senior scientist James Black delivered a sobering message on the topic. "In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels," Black told Exxon's management committee. A year later he warned Exxon that doubling CO2 gases in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by two or three degrees—a number that is consistent with the scientific consensus today. He continued to warn that "present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical."
  9. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015a: Exxon budgeted more than $1 million over three years for the tanker project to measure how quickly the oceans were taking in CO2.
  10. ^ Garvey, Edward; Prahl, Fred; Nazimek, Kenneth; Shaw, Henry (March 1982). "Exxon Global CO2 Measurement System". IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. 31: 32–36. 
  11. ^ Cushman Jr., John H. (October 8, 2015). "Highlighting the Allure of Synfuels, Exxon Played Down the Climate Risks". InsideClimate News. 
  12. ^ Shaw & McCall 1980
  13. ^ Banerjee, Neela; Song, Lisa (October 8, 2015). "Exxon's Business Ambition Collided with Climate Change Under a Distant Sea". InsideClimate News. Retrieved January 25, 2016. 
  14. ^ Song, Lisa; Banerjee, Neela; Hasemyer, David (September 22, 2015). "Exxon Confirmed Global Warming Consensus in 1982 with In-House Climate Models". InsideClimate News. Retrieved January 25, 2016. 
  15. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015a
  16. ^ Jerving et al. 2015: An extended open water season, Croasdale said in 1992, could potentially reduce exploratory drilling and construction costs by 30% to 50%...he advised the company to consider and incorporate potential "negative outcomes," including a rise in the sea level, which could threaten onshore infrastructure; bigger waves, which could damage offshore drilling structures; and thawing permafrost, which could make the earth buckle and slide under buildings and pipelines.
  17. ^ Whitman 2015: Croasdale said global warming could lower the costs but increase the length of time it would be possible to explore for oil in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory. He and his team of researchers had developed models that showed with climate change, drilling in the Beaufort Sea could grow from two months per year to as many as five, with costs cut by as much as half. At the same time, rising sea level due to climate change could hurt infrastructure
  18. ^ a b Lieberman, Amy; Rust, Susanne (December 31, 2015). "Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  19. ^ Schwartz, John (April 14, 2016). "Pressure on Exxon Over Climate Change Intensifies With New Documents". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2016. The documents, according to the environmental law center's director, Carroll Muffett, suggest that the industry had the underlying knowledge of climate change even 60 years ago. "From 1957 onward, there is no doubt that Humble Oil, which is now Exxon, was clearly on notice" about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming, he said. ... Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, called the new allegations absurd. "To suggest that we had definitive knowledge about human-induced climate change before the world’s scientists is not a credible thesis," he said. 
  20. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015b: "After a decade of frank internal discussions on global warming and conducting unbiased studies on it, Exxon changed direction in 1989 and spent more than 20 years discrediting the research its own scientists had once confirmed."
  21. ^ Farrell, Justin (November 30, 2015). "Network structure and influence of the climate change counter-movement". Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate2875. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  22. ^ Van den Hove, Le Menestrel & De Bettignies 2002: Ever since climate change became a subject of public and policy concern, ExxonMobil has been the most active major oil corporation in the debate.
  23. ^ Healey, James R. (October 27, 2005). "Alternate energy not in cards at ExxonMobil". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  24. ^ Union of Concerned Scientists 2007: In its campaign to sow uncertainty about the scientific evidence on global warming, ExxonMobil has followed a corporate strategy pioneered by the tobacco industry. Because ExxonMobil's strategy, tactics, and even some personnel draw heavily from the tobacco industry's playbook, it is useful to look briefly at this earlier campaign
  25. ^ Gillis & Schwartz 2015: ExxonMobil rejected the comparison to the tobacco industry
  26. ^ Lever-Tracy, Constance (2010). Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Taylor & Francis. p. 256. ISBN 9780203876213. major figures from the US (such as ExxonMobil, conservative think-tanks and leading contrarian scientists) have helped spread climate change denial to other nations. 
  27. ^ a b Krugman, Paul (April 17, 2006). "Enemy of the Planet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2016. Although most governments have done little to curb greenhouse gases, and the Bush administration has done nothing, it's not clear that policies would have been any better even if Exxon Mobil had acted more responsibly. But the fact is that whatever small chance there was of action to limit global warming became even smaller because ExxonMobil chose to protect its profits by trashing good science. 
  28. ^ Van den Hove, Le Menestrel & De Bettignies 2002: ExxonMobil—together with its partners in US lobby groups—has been instrumental to the hindrance of US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. I
  29. ^ Whitman 2015: The company, which in 1999 became ExxonMobil, helped found the Global Climate Coalition, which from 1989 to 2002 argued the role "of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood," the New York Times reported Friday.
  30. ^ Banerjee, Song & Hasemyer 2015a: "Exxon helped to found and lead the Global Climate Coalition, an alliance of some of the world's largest companies seeking to halt government efforts to curb fossil fuel emissions."
  31. ^ Van den Hove, Le Menestrel & De Bettignies 2002: Instrumental to the implementation of Exxon's strategy was its participation in industry and lobby groups. Exxon is a prominent member of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the major US petroleum industry trade association, and was, from the date of its creation in 1989, a board member of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), one of the most influential US lobbying front group on the climate issue.
  32. ^ Mooney, Chris (May 2005). "Some Like It Hot". Mother Jones. Retrieved April 29, 2007. 
  33. ^ "Put a Tiger In Your Think Tank". Mother Jones. May 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  34. ^ Mann 2013, p. 67: "in recent years, the Heartland Institute, a group that has been funded by... fossil fuel (Exxon, Koch, Scaife) interests, has financed a series of one-sided conferences on climate change, featuring a slate of climate change deniers"
  35. ^ Lee, Jennifer B. (May 28, 2003). "Exxon Backs Groups that Question Global Warming". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2016. the company... has increased donations to... policy groups that, like Exxon itself, question the human role in global warming and argue that proposed government policies to limit carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming are too heavy handed. Exxon now gives more than $1 million a year to such organizations, which include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, the George C. Marshall Institute, the American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research and the American Legislative Exchange Council... Exxon has become the single-largest corporate donor to some of the groups, accounting for more than 10 percent of their annual budgets. While a few of the groups say they also receive some money from other oil companies, it is only a small fraction of what they receive from ExxonMobil. 
  36. ^ Barnett, Antony; Townsend, Mark (November 28, 2004). "Claims by think-tank outrage eco-groups". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved January 16, 2007. 
  37. ^ Thomas G Farmer; John Cook (2013). Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis: Volume 1 - The Physical Climate. Springer Science and Business Media. p. 461. ISBN 9400757573. In the decade after the Kyoto Protocol was introduced in 1997, Exxon-Mobil invested more than $20 million in think tanks that promoted climate change denial. This inspired the Royal Society of London to challenge Exxon-Mobil to stop funding organizations that disseminated climate denial. 
  38. ^ Spencer Weart. "The Public and Climate Change". Retrieved January 2016. Other corporations persisted in denial. The largest of all, ExxonMobil, continued to spend tens of millions of dollars on false-front organizations that amplified any claim denying the scientific consensus.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  39. ^ Ward, Bob (September 4, 2006). "Letter from Royal Society to ExxoMobil" (PDF). The Guardian. London. Royal Society. Retrieved October 18, 2006. 
  40. ^ a b "Robert Brulle: Inside the Climate Change "Countermovement"". Frontline. PBS. October 23, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  41. ^ Fischer, Douglas (2013-12-23). ""Dark Money" Funds Climate Change Denial Effort". Scientific American. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  42. ^ Buncombe, Andrew; Castle, Stephen (December 6, 2006). "Exxon spends millions to cast doubt on warming". The Independent. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Royal Society and ExxonMobil". Royal Society. September 4, 2006. Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  44. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (July 15, 2015). "ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge". The Guardian. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  45. ^ Frumhoff, Peter C.; Heede, Richard; Oreskes, Naomi (September 2015). "The climate responsibilities of industrial carbon producers". Climatic Change. 132 (2): 157–171. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1472-5. 
  46. ^ a b "Exxon cuts ties to global warming skeptics". MSNBC. January 12, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2007. 
  47. ^ "Exxon still funding Climate Change Deniers" (Press release). Greenpeace. May 18, 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  48. ^ Adam, David (May 28, 2008). "Exxon to cut funding to climate change denial groups". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 23, 2008. 
  49. ^ Adam, David (July 1, 2009). "ExxonMobil continuing to fund climate skeptic groups, records show". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  50. ^ Harkinson, Josh (December 4, 2009). "The Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial". Mother Jones. Retrieved December 21, 2015. Meet the 12 loudest members of the chorus claiming that global warming is a joke and that CO2 emissions are actually good for you...ExxonMobil, the Michael Jordan of climate change denial, was supposed to have quit the game...Yet corporate records released earlier this year show that the world's largest petroleum company hasn't cut off the cash altogether. 
  51. ^ Coleman, Jesse (July 8, 2015). "Exxon Has Been Lying About Climate Change for Much Longer than We Thought". Greenpeace. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  52. ^ Shekhtman, Lonnie (September 17, 2015). "Exxon knew about climate change decades ago, spent $30M to discredit it". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  53. ^ Mann 2013, p. 282: "ABC News's Nightline [noted] that Singer had admitted to receiving "funding from Exxon, Shell, ARCO, Unocal, and Sun Oil." In a separate piece... ABC News noted that Singer "admits he once accepted an unsolicited check from Exxon for $10,000.""
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  76. ^ Friedman, Thomas L. (March 28, 2007). "How Many Scientists?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  77. ^ Van den Hove, Le Menestrel & De Bettignies 2002: In terms of delaying international and national actions on climate change, there is no doubt that ExxonMobil's strategy succeeded.
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  82. ^ "Exxon Mobil Acknowledges Climate Change Risk To Business For First Time". International Business Times. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  83. ^ Dickinson, Tim. "The Logic of Divestment: Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon Now". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  84. ^ Cohen, Ken (October 10, 2014). "Some thoughts on divestment". ExxonMobil. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  85. ^ Geman, Ben (October 13, 2014). "Exxon Blasts Movement to Divest From Fossil Fuels". National Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  86. ^ "The Economist explains: Why ExxonMobil would support a carbon tax". The Economist. November 11, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2016. Yet since 2007 ExxonMobil, the world's biggest publicly listed oil company, is proposing a carbon tax, and has already put a shadow price on each tonne of CO2 it emits... a robust carbon price can make it easier to decide where to invest for the future. Like ExxonMobil, many of the oil companies make investment decisions based on proxy carbon prices. 
  87. ^ "Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool" (PDF). Carbon Disclosure Project. December 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2016. In 2013, 29 companies - based or operating in the US - disclosed that that they use an internal price of carbon in their business planning...For example, ExxonMobil is assuming a cost of $60 per metric ton by 2030. 
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  89. ^ Whitehouse, Sheldon (May 29, 2015). "The fossil-fuel industry's campaign to mislead the American people". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
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  93. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (October 16, 2015). "Exxon's climate change denial warrants federal inquiry, congressmen say". The Guardian. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  94. ^ Gillis & Schwartz 2015: More than 40 of the nation's leading environmental and social justice groups demanded a federal investigation of ExxonMobil on Friday, accusing the huge oil and gas company of deceiving the American public about the risks of climate change to protect its profits.
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  • Banerjee, Neela; Song, Lisa; Hasemyer, David (September 16, 2015a). "Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago". InsideClimate News. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  • Banerjee, Neela; Song, Lisa; Hasemyer, David (September 17, 2015b). "Exxon Believed Deep Dive Into Climate Research Would Protect Its Business". InsideClimate News. Retrieved January 25, 2016. 
  • Breslow, Jason M. (September 16, 2015). "Investigation Finds Exxon Ignored Its Own Early Climate Change Warnings". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  • Gillis, Justin; Schwartz, John (October 30, 2015). "Exxon Mobil Accused of Misleading Public on Climate Change Risks". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  • Goldenberg, Suzanne (July 8, 2015). "Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years". The Guardian. Retrieved October 15, 2015.  Reprinted as Goldenberg, Suzanne (July 9, 2015). "Exxon Knew About Global Warming More Than 30 Years Ago". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  • Hall, Shannon (October 26, 2015). "Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago". Scientific American. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  • Jennings, Katie; Grandoni, Dino; Rust, Susanne (October 23, 2015). "How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change research". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  • Jerving, Sara; Jennings, Katie; Hirsch, Masako Melissa; Rust, Susanne (October 9, 2015). "What Exxon knew about the Earth's melting Arctic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2015. 
  • Johnston, Ian (July 8, 2015). "Did oil giant ExxonMobil know about climate change in 1981?". The Independent. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  • Mann, Michael E. (2013). The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231526385. 
  • Mann, Michael E. (September 21, 2015). "Doubling Down on Denial and Deceit". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  • Oreskes, Naomi (October 9, 2015). "Exxon's Climate Concealment". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  • "Smoke Mirrors & Hot Air" (PDF). Union of Concerned Scientists. February 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  • Van den Hove, Sybille; Le Menestrel, Marc; De Bettignies, Henri-Claude (2002). "The oil industry and climate change: strategies and ethical dilemmas". Climate Policy. 2 (1): 3–18. doi:10.3763/cpol.2002.0202. 
  • Whitman, Elizabeth (October 10, 2015). "Exxon Arctic Drilling Benefitting From Global Warming: Oil Company Denied Climate Change Science While Factoring It Into Arctic Operations, Report Shows". International Business Times. Retrieved October 21, 2015. 

Select ExxonMobil documents

  • Black, James F. (June 6, 1978). "The Greenhouse Effect" (PDF). Exxon. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  • Glaser, M. B. (November 12, 1982). "CO2 "Greenhouse" effect" (PDF). Exxon. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  • Levine, Duane G. (February 22, 1989). "Potential Enhanced Greenhouse Effects: Status and Outlook, Presentation to the Board of Directors of Exxon Corporation" (PDF). Exxon. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  • Shaw, Henry; McCall, P. P. (December 8, 1980). "Exxon Research and Engineering Company's Technological Forecast C02 Greenhouse Effect" (PDF). Exxon. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 


  • "A Range of Opinions on Climate Change at Exxon Mobil". New York Times. November 6, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  • "Exxon's Climate Denial History: A Timeline; A 40-year review of Exxon's knowledge and subsequent denial of climate change". Greenpeace. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  • "The Long Tale of Exxon and Climate Change". InsideClimate News. September 15, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2016. 
  • Ages, Naomi (November 25, 2015). "4 Priceless Moments in ExxonMobil's History of Climate Denial". Greenpeace. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 

External links

  • Rex Tillerson speaks about future climate change (2012, video)
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