ExxonMobil predicted climate change in the 1970s with in-house high-level research

In the 1970s, scientists working for oil giant ExxonMobil predicted global warming with great accuracy. That’s according to a new study in the journal Science, based on the company’s internal documents.

Exxon scientists estimate that the Earth will warm by about 0.2°C per decade due to the emission of greenhouse gases produced by oil and coal, which is in line with current studies and findings.

According to the study, the company was not only aware of climate change, but was also predicting the phenomenon with equal or better precision than government and academic scientists.

Climate change denial

Despite this knowledge, Exxon has openly contradicted its own scientists for decades, saying that “uncertainties” persisted over the impact of burning fossil fuels.

The company has been the target of numerous lawsuits for allegedly being aware of the damage caused by oil and gas production, while also leading the public to doubt the reality of climate change.

Extract from the study: G. Supran, S. Rahmstorf and N. Oreskes /

ExxonMobil forecasts showing anthropogenic climate change – Extract from the study: G. Supran, S. Rahmstorf and N. Oreskes / “ExxonMobil’s evaluation of global warming projections”

Projections made by Exxon scientists met strict standards of accuracy ranging from 63% to 83%, while the climate forecast presented to the US Congress in 1988 by NASA scientist Dr James Hansen had 38% to 66% accuracy.

The oil company even predicted in the early 80s that human-caused global warming would be detected around 2000. Exxon scientists were right, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessed in 1995 that human-induced climate change had been detected.

“Exxon knew”

The media Inside Climate News, the Los Angeles Times, and many activists, journalists, and scientists, deceived the public, reported that “Exxon has known about climate change since about 1977.”

“This topic has come up several times over the past few years, and in each case our answer is the same: those who talk about ‘Exxon Knew’ are wrong in their conclusions,” said Exxon spokesman Todd Spitler.

“Some have tried to misrepresent the facts and ExxonMobil’s position on climate science and its support for effective policy solutions, by reshaping the well-meaning, domestic policy debate as a corporate disinformation campaign,” Spitler added.

In January 2022, ExxonMobil made a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This decision was made following the arrival of the motor N°1 hedge fund on Exxon’s board of directors.

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