The drive to distract us from reality continues. Quite why otherwise sensible people are so keen on stuff like Pressure on Exxon Over Climate Change Intensifies With New Documents – I saw it via Stefan Rahmstorf’s fb feed – I don’t know, because it is utter drivel. To let Exxon have their rebuttal first, because they are right,
Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil, called the new allegations absurd. “To suggest that we had definitive knowledge about human-induced climate change before the world’s scientists is not a credible thesis,” he said.
And now to quote the other side talking bullshit
The documents, according to the environmental law center’s director, Carroll Muffett, suggest that the industry had the underlying knowledge of climate change even 60 years ago. “From 1957 onward, there is no doubt that Humble Oil, which is now Exxon, was clearly on notice” about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming, he said.
The idea that anyone knew anything useful about the future direction of climate change in 1957 is stupid. I haven’t dredged through enough of the nonsense to find out where 1957 comes from (2021 update: now I have), so let’s skip ahead to 1968
In 1968, scientists with the Stanford Research Institute reported to the American Petroleum Institute about their research on atmospheric pollutants of interest to the industry. Summarizing the available science, the scientists saved their starkest warnings for carbon dioxide (CO2). They cautioned that rising levels of CO2 would likely result in rising global temperatures and warned that, if temperatures increased significantly, the result could be melting ice caps, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and serious environmental damage on a global scale.
So, first and foremost note what I’ve been saying about this from the start: the Exxon had no privileged knowledge at all; all the SRI are feeding them here is “the available science”. With that alone the entire claim falls apart. Allow me to rub that in your face by excerpting one of their dox:
Yes, that’s right. One of the “damning” quotes – so damning it needs to be outlined in scary yellow – is simply quoting what Revelle had already told anyone who was prepared to listen (ter be honest, I don’t understand the second sentence. I can’t tell if that’s the report stating it as a fact, or whether they are quoting Revelle. The sentence is stupid though, so is unlikely to be Revelle: significant temperature changes *are* climate changes. Notice that sentence doesn’t say the changes will be upwards). However, the idea that the available science in 1968 justified doing anything is also stupid. The blockquote (“In 1968…”) above misrepresents the state. The report itself is available here except it isn’t the whole report. Its only selected bits. I think that’s dishonest of them; I think they’re deliberately avoiding putting bits of the report they don’t like online. But even that fails.
Here’s one bit. Notice what they’ve outlined in yellow. Then notice what follows, that they’re desperately hoping that you won’t read, because it destroys their entire thesis:
FFS, these people are cretins. I think their quote “They cautioned that rising levels of CO2 would likely result in rising global temperatures” is a lie; I certainly can’t see a source for it, and it would be directly contradicted by what I’ve inlined above. The report does say, and I paraphrase slightly, that “if the temperature increases significantly then some things will happen, like Antarctic melting, sea level rise, warming of the oceans, blah blah blah”. You may call me overly picky, but I don’t think a report that warns that temperatures going up might, just possibly, lead to warming gets many points for depth of perception. Nor do they get much for T up implies SLR; or even Ant melt.
* The same nonsense is available from the Graun
* Exxon’s Support of a Tax on Carbon: Rhetoric or Reality?
* AGU BOARD VOTES TO CONTINUE RELATIONSHIP WITH EXXONMOBIL AND TO ACCEPT SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT – they’re rather shouty about it.
* The “Exxon Climate Papers” show what Exxon and climate science knew and shared – archive of post by Andy May at – gasp – WUWT. It isn’t actually good, due to not being able to accept the current state of the science, but largely agrees with what I’ve said; and provides useful links to some of the papers. Also available from a less tainted source if you prefer.