Exxon Lied To You And Me And Now We’re Screwed
This is Why We Have Catastrophic Irreversible Climate Change.
10 minute read.
Hey guys. Nicholas Johnson here to tell you a little tale about climate change.
This is the story of how your safety and future finances were robbed without you ever noticing.
Back in the 70’s, the energy company called Exxon was created. They were obsessed with profit. They decided to invest in science, so they hired their own scientists.
Exxon’s very own scientists were the first to present a series of groundbreaking papers explaining that burning fossil fuels will influence the climate as the carbon dioxide released will cause a greenhouse effect.
Isn’t it ironic that oil companies discovered climate change? This happened in the early 1980’s just as the price of oil was decreasing. So the executives at Exxon chose to ignore the information and instead focus on growing the business.
They asked the scientists to keep looking into it. In 1982, their own scientists again came back, and this time with more thorough research saying “Yep, it was worse than we thought.”
What Exxon was planning to do in regards to fossil fuel extraction would warm the climate, cause sea levels to rise, and increase deadly droughts. Their scientists knew humans would suffer great effects, which would indeed be catastrophic and increasingly more deadly over time. So the scientists pitched a major reduction in fossil fuel combustion.
An email from Lenny Bernstein, a former employee of Exxon wrote: “In the 1980’s, Exxon needed to understand the potential for concerns about climate change to lead to regulation of… ‘potential projects.’ They were well ahead of the rest of the industry in this awareness.”
If Exxon wanted to make a positive difference, maybe they would have taken this moment to diversify the energy sector, and invest in alternative clean renewable energy sources. But instead, they decided to lie.
They lied to you, to me, and to your mom. It was the 1980’s, and for the first time, an internal memo was released at Exxon that said they “need to start to emphasize the uncertainty of the scientific data around climate change.”
The Birth of Climate Change Denial
The executives at Exxon decided to go against their very own science, and plant the seed for what we now know as climate change denial.
Here is part of an internal memo from Exxon at the time: “There is currently no unambiguous scientific evidence that the earth is warming. If the earth is on a warming trend, we’re not likely to detect it before 1995.”
One of the most infuriating parts of this story is that Exxon believed their climate change science, but decided to keep right on doing it. Right at this time, they started to build drilling platforms in the ocean a little bit higher up to deal with the rising sea levels they predicted.
They also started to drill in the Arctic, because as they knew, the sea ice in the Arctic was going to melt. In the late 80’s, the effects of climate change began to become apparent. Time magazine had a picture of the planet in shackles due to climate change on their cover, as the scientific impact of burning fossil fuels became public knowledge.
At the time, 80% of Americans claimed that climate change was an issue, and accepted that it was caused by the burning of fossil fuels. It was also not a political issue.
Here is Republican President George H.W. Bush on the campaign trail in 1988 after a year of severe heat waves killed thousands of Americans: “Don’t say these problems are too big, that it’s impossible for an individual, or even a nation as great as ours to solve the problem of global warming, or the loss of forests, or the deterioration of our oceans. My response is simple; it can be done, and we must do it. Let’s not forget all that we’ve accomplished, all that we’ve accomplished since America first concentrated its attention on preserving the environment, under a Republican administration,
back in 1970.”
The oil companies started to get scared.
This is the time when the oil companies were getting scared of “evil regulation from the government.” So they started to really jack up their campaigns to increase climate change denial.
They became inventive and actually created the OP ad that we now sometimes see in newspapers, where it kind of looks like an article, but it’s actually a fully paid advertisement. This is one of the op ads that they paid for in the liberal New York Times: “One of the brighter hopes with the climate change debate has to be the benefits achieved through technology.”
Notice how they used the word “debate”, and notice how they sort of make it seem like–oh climate change might be a good thing, because we’re gonna invent new things to cope. They secretly paid scientists to promote fake science.
In an article called Climate Change: A Degree of Uncertainty, the first line read: “The debate on climate change has been long, complex, and intense.” This is of course NOT TRUE, because according to their own science, there wasn’t a debate at all. There was a short explanation that was really quite simple–burning of CO2 creates a greenhouse effect that warms the earth… rapidly!
In 1997 Lee Raymond, the CEO of Exxon at the time actually decided that in a presentation he was going to say “No. In fact, according to their science, the earth was cooling.” This was a FLAT OUT LIE.
Again, he did this in a presentation in 1997, more than 20 years after his own scientists first discovered the fact that the greenhouse effect was real. The name of his presentation was, “Is the earth warming? Does burning fossil fuels cause global warming?” Again, a FLAT OUT LIE.
Lee Raymond is a colossal asshole.
He is the person who began to make climate change a political issue. Lee Raymond persuaded George W. Bush to go against his campaign promise and take carbon dioxide off the list of pollutants.
These are one of the first times that we actually see climate change become a political issue, a side of left or right. And at this time, the Republican Party was under a lot of pressure from the big oil companies.
They released this memo: “The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science.” Later in the memo it reads: “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues around global warming are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore we need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue of debate”.
All of this hard work paid off. In 2017, around 90% of Americans did not know there was a scientific consensus on global warming. 52% of Americans think the threat of climate change has been exaggerated.
Rex Tillerson is also a colossal asshole.
This lack of knowledge helped Rex Tillerson, who became the CEO of Exxon after it merged with Mobil to become ExxonMobil, to sign a 500 billion dollar deal to explore for oil in the rapidly thawing Russian Arctic. For this plan, he was awarded the Russian order of friendship.
Global warming and climate change is caused by immense burning of coal, gas, and oil for energy from private industry. Pure and simple. This causes the carbon release to combine with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce CO2, carbon dioxide, which traps heat that would have been otherwise radiated back out into space.
Due to this, the extra heat trapped near earth is equivalent to the heat from FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND BOMBS (400,000) the size of what was dropped on Hiroshima, being collected in our atmosphere every day. EVERY DAY! By 2100, the rising sea levels will cost the world 14 trillion dollars (if we even have any humans left by that time). 9 of the 10 deadliest heat waves in recorded human history have occurred since the year 2000.
Since the 1970’s, 60% of the world’s wildlife has been killed. If we continue with our current greenhouse gas emissions, by 2070 tropical regions that now get one day a year of oppressive humid heat will get between 100 to 250 days per year.
100 million trees died in California in the past 10 years, and studies show that by 2050, if temperatures rise the way they are predicted, a quarter of the earth will experience extreme droughts and desertification. Stephen Hawking gave humanity a deadline of a century to leave earth, as it may be the only way to save ourselves.
And who is going to be able to afford this? Maybe Lee Raymond, as his retirement package from ExxonMobil was a mere $400,000,000 for his impressive work of making money for the company at the expense of your life. Yes, you heard me right. AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR LIFE.
Climate change is real. I was lied to. You were lied to. Your parents were lied to.
These oil companies did all of this because they were focused on profit. They wanted to make money for themselves. In other words, it’s business as usual. And we are the ones who are left to figure out all of this shit now.
Climate change was not our fault. What the fuck were we supposed to do to change it? This is a huge injustice. All these lies and deceit that these companies did to the public consciousness are unfair. But what chance of hope do we have now?
The executives at Exxon deserve to rot in prison forever (or as long as we are able to stay live). We will become extinct as a species because of catastrophic irreversible climate change caused by them. There is no question about it.
Regardless of what comes, I encourage you to live the rest of your life with love, compassion, decency, and excellence.
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Always keep leaping forward my friend.