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Report: All Major Oil Companies Knew of Climate Change by 1970s

HeadlinesDec 24, 2015

A new investigation by the Pulitzer Prize-winning outlet InsideClimate News suggests that nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company was aware of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change as early as the late 1970s. Earlier exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times have revealed that Exxon scientists knew about climate change as early as 1977, and for decades Exxon concealed its own findings that the burning of fossil fuels causes global warming, alters the climate and melts the Arctic ice. Now, internal documents obtained by InsideClimate News reveal that the entire oil and gas industry had similar knowledge. From 1979 to 1983, the oil and gas industry trade group American Petroleum Institute ran a task force to monitor and share climate research. The group’s members included senior scientists and engineers from not only Exxon, but also Amoco, Phillips, Mobil, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio and Standard Oil of California and Gulf Oil, the predecessors to Chevron. The documents show that as early as 1979, the task force knew carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising steadily. The task force even briefly considered researching how to introduce a new energy source into the global market, given the research about fossil fuels’ impact on global warming. But in 1983, the task force was disbanded, and by the late 1990s, the American Petroleum Institute had launched a campaign to oppose the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted by many countries to cut fossil fuel emissions but was never ratified by the United States.

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