Et tu, Exxon?

New reporting by Inside Climate News shows that petroleum giant Exxon knew, more than thirty years ago, that burning too much fossil fuel would cause catastrophic climate change. Comparing Exxon’s subsequent emphasis on profits over planetary health to the efforts of Big Tobacco hiding the dangers of cigarettes, PZ Myers writes “the future is going to look back on rabid capitalism as one of the damning pathologies of our history.” Now that the wider public is accepting the fact that anthropogenic global warming will transform and could destroy our way of life, Exxon is very much on the hook. Greg Laden, conducting data analysis to prove the accuracy of Exxon’s early research, asks “How surprised should we be that a major corporation would both look into and ignore, possibly even repress, the science associated with their primary activity?” While a conspiracy comes to mind, William M. Connolley is a bit more circumspect on Stoat, noting that Exxon’s research, building on well-known science, appeared in the peer-reviewed literature. Connolley writes, “confirming publically available information with other publically information available is hardly the stuff of deep dark secrets.” But with the public face of Exxon obfuscating the truth since 1989, it’s hard not to look at them as evildoers. See also: Exxon speaks.

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