A climate scientists who worked for Exxon has revealed that the company knew about CO2 effects on climate change long before the information became available to the general public.
In 1988, information about climate change, its causes and possible effects started becoming available to the general public, which in turn asked big companies like Exxon to take steps in reducing their carbon footprint.
Companies began funding researches and taking measures, although mostly were ineffective and essentially just media displays. It took decades for companies to accept responsibility and start taking meaningful preemptive measures.
But Exxon, one of the biggest oil companies on the planet, was well aware of how it’s actions affected climate change almost 7 years in advance.
Lenny Bernstein, a former Exxon employee, wrote an email reply to the director of the Institute of Applied and Professional Ethics at Ohio University, mentioning to her different aspects of Exxon policies through the years.
According to the former employee who worked as chemical scientist for the corporation, Exxon knew that CO2 released as a byproduct of drilling into the atmosphere would impact the planet’s climate. Not only did the company know but they also decided not to drill in some areas in order to not attract attention from government regulators.
The company is now being accused of creating a web of lies and deceit in order to protect it’s profits. Sources say that while desperately denying climate change, Exxon was also hiring experts in order to conduct studies that would be favorable to the company’s image and find arguments against the recognition of global climate change.
The company reportedly spent around $30 million in its quest to buy off scientific opinions which could work in Exxon’s own in-house “bio institutes”.
The Union of Concern Scientists has included Bernstein’s email in their Climate Deception Dossiers, winch is a report focusing on big oil companies and their behavior.
However these practices of hiding information, diverting attention from facts and buying upp advertising space and scientific studies, are not unheard of in the industry.
Exxon is always accused of being a company that will do anything it takes in order to keep it’s profits on the rise. In 2001 a $3.4 Billion fine against Exxon was upheld by a U.S. judge, for deliberately underpaying gas royalties in Alabama.
Such cases have seriously affected Exxon’s reputation and thus it is logical that the company wants to kep public opinion looking the other way.
However this is more of an industry practice than an isolated rogue corporation behavior. Studies can always be designed from the start to be “misinterpreted” or “incomplete”, and many companies use using even if the information is not valid or complete.
A large part of the American society believes that it is not necessarily the company’s fault that it pollutes or damages the environment, but rather it is state and national regulators who need to do a better job.
Companies will always be expected to “bend” the law as much as possible or spend billions on legal departments in ordered to find “loop holes”, because their main objective is not to produce anything but rather to generate profit.
Image Source: profitandlaws.com