A new study by Harvard researchers shows that internal ExxonMobil projections accurately predicted human-caused climate change – even as the company downplayed its risks in public statements.
The study showed that 63 to 83 percent of ExxonMobil scientists’ climate models accurately projected subsequent global warming, including estimated levels of carbon dioxide that would cause “dangerous warming” and detectable human-caused climate change by approximately 2000.
However, despite the clear findings by its scientists, Exxon Mobil officials refused to make these findings available to the general public.
History of Science professor Naomi Oreskes, the study’s co-author, says the researchers found the ExxonMobil climate projections were “extremely skillful,” with accuracy that often matched or exceeded models by independent academics and government scientists.
“We’re able to show that there were massive discrepancies between how ExxonMobil presented the issue in private versus how they presented it in public,” Oreskes said.
Responding, the oil major described the findings as “inaccurate and deliberately misleading.”
“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,” ExxonMobil spokesperson Todd M. Spitler said.
“For more than 40 years, we have supported development of climate science in partnership with governments and academic institutions. That work continues today in an open and transparent way.”
This new development brings back the debate by environmentalists that most oil majors were well and truly aware of the consequences of greenhouse emissions on the environment, but all chose to play coy.
Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell have also been accused of hiding information that revealed the impending climate change crisis decades ago.