The Beginning of Climate Denial
As early as 1954, the American Petroleum Institute, the leading advocacy group for the oil and gas industry in the U.S., knew from its own research that the burning of coal, gas and oil was causing CO2 levels in the atmosphere to rise. Five years later, the oil industry was warned by Edward Teller, a Hungarian-American physicist who made important scientific contributions. Teller pointed out that CO2 increases would cause a dramatic rise in temperature and sea level by the end of the 20th century. In 1965, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson was briefed on the effects of climate change by a report from leading scientists. Three days later, that same report was presented and discussed at the annual general meeting of the American Petroleum Institute. Frank N. Ikard, the association’s president at the time, addressed the assembled oil and gas industry leaders with the following remarkable words:
“This report will undoubtedly stir emotions, raise fears, and prompt demands for action. The core message of the report is that there is still time to save the peoples of the world from the catastrophic consequences of pollution, but time is running out. One of the key predictions of the report is that carbon dioxide is being added to the earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas in such quantities that by the year 2000, the heat balance will be altered in ways that may cause significant climate changes beyond local or even national efforts.”
Ikard further emphasized that, according to the report, pollution from internal combustion engines is serious and increasing so rapidly “that an alternative environmentally friendly means of powering cars, buses, and trucks is likely to become a national necessity.”
However, no consequences were drawn from these findings. On the contrary, in the decades that followed, the American Petroleum Institute publicly disputed that the findings on climate change were scientifically sound.
What is the definition of ecoterroism again?
First published on German on Valudis.