I just finished reading "Exxon: The Road Not Taken" produced by InsideClimate News, an amazing in depth eight month investigative study on climate change. It documents and verifies what I, and a most intelligent and educated people have known for many years, that Exxon was/is the lead entity in creating the whole denier (skeptic) component in the climate change discussion.
From the early '70's through the late 80's, Exxon’s excellent research laid the groundwork for almost all the data, modeling, conclusions, predictions, and warnings that the IPCC has published and called for action over the years. Their scientists basically did the research and sounded the alarm of the dangers in continuing to burn fossil fuels. However, in the early '90's, Exxon discovered a huge potential gas field off the coast of Southeast Asia, and realized that the amount of CO2 that would be release if it was to be developed and burned would created a major dilemma between what impact that would have on the global environment, economy, and populous which their research showed, and potential future corporate profits. Time for corporate moral responsibility?!! Under the leadership of Lee Raymond (CEO & president), Exxon chose the path of spending literally tens of millions of dollars, and using their enormous economic and political might to create the controversy of misstatements, half truths, and outright lies which today still resonates with political leaders and the media. Their reach was all inclusive...the Bush/Cheney administration, the halls of Congress, major media like Fox News, conservative pundits, academics...their money was able to buy the "best" PR campaign in civilized history for the past 20+ years, which has brought us to the critical crossroad we are at today. I keep reflecting on Jim Inhofe, the most vociferous climate denier elected to the Senate in1992, who wrote in his book "I used to believe in climate change until I saw the money." Even though they have backed off a bit in the recent past, Exxon continues to lead the fossil fuel industry in its war on the changing climate.
So, the American people have been had...brainwashed by a very slick, complex, and expensive campaign to preserve the humongous profits of the fossil fuel industry. The effects of climate change predicted 30-40 years ago by Exxon scientists are now/and have been felt worldwide. The warming of the upper atmosphere due to an increase of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is modifying the entire planetary ecosystem. More extremes in weather patterns, changes in ocean composition and chemistry, melting of geologic ice, loss and change of plant and animal diversity, and of course the economic impacts society is facing now, and the very real predictions that all this will all get much, much worse.
I have the most sincere respect and gratitude to the researchers at InsideClimate News for their excellent work. Go to the source...read the short book with actual source papers, letters, and reports from Exxon's documents; look at their summaries of how they accomplished the media blitz; and follow the legal action taken initially by the state of New York as it unfolds. Whether any of this is illegal or not, (hiding and not disclosing facts from their shareholders is illegal), it poses the most basic questions of morality...human life (all life) vs. monetary greed, and the role that a few individuals can have on history…good or bad.
On a side note, “Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Ken Cohen, who was the public face and voice for the largest energy producer in the U.S., plans to retire on Jan. 1, the company said Friday.” He led a fantastic PR campaign. I’m sure he was paid well. Little is heard these days from several of the heavyweight scientists who’s research and studies “proved” that climate change is hoax because everyone else’s research was flawed. Patrick Michaels and Fred Singer from the University of Virginia have retired from their academic posts to work for the conservative think tank The Cato Institute. Richard Lindzen from MIT now consults with the also conservative Heartland Institute. Just a sample: “Singer, a leading climate change skeptic and a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other publications. In February of 2012, internal documents from the Heartland Institute were released to the DeSmogBlog, which detailed a $5,000 per month stipend to Fred Singer for activities related to global warming denial.” Check out: http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/index.php
They all made lots of money over the years…just like Jim Inhofe and his ilk!