H Exxon Mobil και η επί δεκαετίες χειραγώγηση της κοινής γνώμης
Ο κολοσσός ονόματι Exxon Mobil συστηματικά εδω και δεκαετίες μαζί με ΜΜΕ, πολιτικούς & επιστήμονες φίλα προσκείμενους, αρνιόταν κάθε θεωρία για την κλιματική αλλαγή επηρεάζοντας σε μεγάλο βαθμό την στάση της αμερικανικής γνώμης.Η αρνητική στάση των ΗΠΑ στο Κιότο και το χάσιμο πολύτιμου χρόνου όσον αφορά τη νομοθεσία για τα όρια των ρύπων έχει μεγάλη σχέση με αυτό.
Από την άλλη, το επιχειρηματικό/επιστημονικό πρόγραμμα της εταιρίας γνώριζε την αλήθεια, έπαιρνε υπόψιν στα κρυφά όλες τις περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες και μάλιστα ελισσόταν ανάλογα στην κάθε επένδυση.
Τα 2 επόμενα άρθρα των NY Τimes & LA Times περιγράφουν την χειραγώγηση που σχεδιαζόταν για χρόνια.
ΥΓ. Υπενθυμίζουμε ότι ο άλλος γίγαντας SHELL εγκατέλειψε πρόσφατα κάθε εξόρυξη στην Αρκτική κάτι που επισήμως οφείλεται στην κοστοβόρα επένδυση αλλά φυσικά έχει να κάνει με την διαρκή κοινωνική πίεση τα τελευταία χρόνια για αποτροπή καταστροφής ενός ακόμα παρθένου περιβάλλοντος http://earthjustice.org/…/shell-ends-risky-oil-drilling…
Exxon’s Climate Concealment
της Naomi Oreskes από τους New York Times
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — MILLIONS of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead.
The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees.
Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation.
Government and academic scientists alerted policy makers to the potential threat of human-driven climate change in the 1960s and ’70s, but at that time climate change was still a prediction. By the late 1980s it had become an observed fact.
But Exxon was sending a different message, even though its own evidence contradicted its public claim that the science was highly uncertain and no one really knew whether the climate was changing or, if it was changing, what was causing it.
Exxon (which became Exxon Mobil in 1999) was a leader in these campaigns of confusion. In 1989, the company helped to create the Global Climate Coalition to question the scientific basis for concern about climate change and prevent the United States from signing on to the international Kyoto Protocol to control greenhouse gas emissions. The coalition disbanded in 2002, but the disinformation continued. Journalists and scientists have identified more than 30 different organizations funded by the company that have worked to undermine the scientific message and prevent policy action to control greenhouse gas emissions.
These efforts turned the problem from a matter of fact into a matter of opinion. When the Exxon chief executive, Lee Raymond, insisted in the late 1990s that the science was still uncertain, the media covered it, business leaders accepted it and the American people were confused.
For people close to the issue, it was never credible that Exxon — a company that employs thousands of scientists and engineers and whose core business depends on their expertise — could be that confused about the science. We now know that they not only understood the science, but contributed to it.
As early as 1977, one of Exxon’s senior scientists warned a gathering of oilmen of a “general scientific agreement” that the burning of fossil fuels was influencing the climate. A year later, he had updated his assessment, warning 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.”
In the 1980s, Exxon scientists collaborated with academic and government researchers to build climate models and understand their implications. When one researcher expressed the opinion that the impacts would be “well short of catastrophic,” the director of the Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Laboratory at Exxon Research responded in a memo, “I think that this statement may be too reassuring.” He said it was “distinctly possible” that the projected warming trend after 2030 “will indeed be catastrophic (at least for a substantial fraction of the earth’s population),” a conclusion that most climate scientists now hold, assuming we continue business as usual.
What did Exxon executives do with this information? Until 1989, they circulated reports summarizing it inside the company. They allowed their scientists to attend academic meetings, to participate in panels, and to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals — in short, to behave as scientists. And they did acknowledge the “potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.”
Then corporate executives turned about face. As the scientific community began to speak out more strongly, first about the risks of unmitigated climate change and then about the fact that it was underway, Exxon executives and organizations funded by them embarked on a campaign designed to prevent governments from taking meaningful action. These activities continue today.
Exxon (whose spokesman has disputed the Inside Climate News reporting) had a choice. As one of the most profitable companies in the world, Exxon could have acted as a corporate leader, helping to explain to political leaders, to shareholders and institutional investors, and to the public what it knew about climate change. It could have begun to shift its business model, investing in renewables and biofuels or introducing a major research and development initiative in carbon capture. It could have endorsed sensible policies to foster a profitable transition to a 21st-century energy economy.
Instead — like the tobacco industry — Exxon chose the path of disinformation, denial and delay. More damagingly, the company set a model for the rest of the industry. More than 30 years ago, Exxon scientists acknowledged in internal company memos that climate change could be catastrophic. Today, scientists who say the exact same thing are ridiculed in the business community and on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.
We have lost precious time as a result: decades during which we could have built a smart electricity grid, fostered efficiency and renewables and generated thousands of jobs in a cleaner, greener economy. There is still time to prevent the worst disruptions of human-driven climate change, but the challenge is now much greater than it needed to be, in no small part because of the choices that Exxon Mobil made.
Naomi Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard and the author, with Erik M. Conway, of “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future.”
What Exxon knew about
the Earth’s melting Arctic
Back in 1990, as the debate over climate change was heating up, a dissident shareholder petitioned the board of Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil companies, imploring it to develop a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its production plants and facilities.
The board’s response: Exxon had studied the science of global warming and concluded it was too murky to warrant action. The company’s “examination of the issue supports the conclusions that the facts today and the projection of future effects are very unclear.”
Yet in the far northern regions of Canada’s Arctic frontier, researchers and engineers at Exxon and Imperial Oil were quietly incorporating climate change projections into the company’s planning and closely studying how to adapt the company’s Arctic operations to a warming planet.
Ken Croasdale, senior ice researcher for Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, was leading a Calgary-based team of researchers and engineers that was trying to determine how global warming could affect Exxon’s Arctic operations and its bottom line.
“Certainly any major development with a life span of say 30-40 years will need to assess the impacts of potential global warming,” Croasdale told an engineering conference in 1991. “This is particularly true of Arctic and offshore projects in Canada, where warming will clearly affect sea ice, icebergs, permafrost and sea levels.”
Between 1986 and 1992, Croasdale’s team looked at both the positive and negative effects that a warming Arctic would have on oil operations, reporting its findings to Exxon headquarters in Houston and New Jersey.
The good news for Exxon, he told an audience of academics and government researchers in 1992, was that “potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs” in the Beaufort Sea.
But, he added, it also posed hazards, including higher sea levels and bigger waves, which could damage the company’s existing and future coastal and offshore infrastructure, including drilling platforms, artificial islands, processing plants and pump stations. And a thawing earth could be troublesome for those facilities as well as pipelines.
As Croasdale’s team was closely studying the impact of climate change on the company’s operations, Exxon and its worldwide affiliates were crafting a public policy position that sought to downplay the certainty of global warming.
The gulf between Exxon’s internal and external approach to climate change from the 1980s through the early 2000s was evident in a review of hundreds of internal documents, decades of peer-reviewed published material and dozens of interviews conducted by Columbia University’s Energy & Environmental Reporting Project and the Los Angeles Times.
Documents were obtained from the Imperial Oil collection at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum and the Exxon Mobil Historical Collection at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History.
“We considered climate change in a number of operational and planning issues,” said Brian Flannery, who was Exxon’s in-house climate science advisor from 1980 to 2011. In a recent interview, he described the company’s internal effort to study the effects of global warming as a competitive necessity: “If you don’t do it, and your competitors do, you’re at a loss.”