For nearly 40 years ExxonMobil publicly raised doubt about the dangers of climate change even as scientists and execs inside the oil giant acknowledged the growing threat internally, according to a Harvard University study.
“We conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public,” the researchers wrote in the peer-reviewed study
The Harvard researchers examined 187 public and private communications from Exxon about climate change between 1977 and 2014, ranging from internal documents and peer-reviewed studies to company pamphlets and editorial-style advertisements in The New York Times known as “advertorials.”
The study found that the more public-facing the Exxon communication, the more doubt it expressed about climate change.
Exxon’s internal communications broadly acknowledged that global warming is “real, human-caused, serious and solvable,” the research found.
About 80% of Exxon’s internal documents that were examined acknowledged that climate change is both real and human-caused, compared with just 12% of advertorials published in the op-ed pages of the Times. Doubt was expressed by 81% of Exxon’s advertorials.