According to a new report, oil companies have known about the threat of climate change for a while.
Since at least 1988.
They believed that uncertainty in the science was no cause for delaying action. (Again, in 1988!) And that climate impacts may cause "political anxiety" that could be dangerous for oil companies. (3/)
— Kelly Mitchell (@kellyemitchell) April 5, 2018
The report details:
“The 1988 report estimated that in 1981, 44 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions came from oil, 38 percent from coal and 17 percent from natural gas.
With fossil fuel combustion being a major source of CO2 in the atmosphere, a forward looking approach by the energy industry is clearly desirable, seeking to play its part with governments and others in the development of appropriate measures to tackle the problem.”
Clearly, the oil industry looked forward to climate change as a setback for the company in the future if not a global issue of planetary proportions. Other parts of the report show Shell’s Greenhouse Effect Working Group telling Shell how much they contributed to the current climate change crisis, and the dire warnings about the effect of climate change on the environment contained in the 1988 memo.
According to the report:
“The 1988 report titled ‘The Greenhouse Effect’ calculated that the Shell group alone was contributing 4 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions through its oil, natural gas and coal products. ‘By the time global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation,’ the report warned.”
According to the Harvard Political Review, the oil companies’ “ignorance” on the dangers of climate change mirrors that of the behavior of the tobacco industry, whose chief tactic was keeping Americans in the dark about the effects of smoking.
“Americans knew very little about the harms caused by smoking. Studies published from as early as the 1920s onwards linking smoking to health damage were widely ignored. Physicians were therefore unaware of potential ill effects and ‘did not see a significant health threat for most smokers.”
The memo shows that while the oil companies are not in the dark when it comes to the damaging effects of climate change on the populace, the populace sure is.
Image provided via Pixabay.