Starting in the 1970s, scientists working at Exxon made remarkably accurate projections of just how much burning fossil fuels would warm the planet. Yet for years, the oil giant publicly cast doubt on climate science, and cautioned against any drastic move away from burning fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change. In the late 1970s, scientists at Exxon fitted one of the company’s supertankers with state-of-the-art equipment to measure carbon dioxide in the ocean and in the air, an early example of substantial research the oil giant conducted into the science of climate change. Edward Garvey, who was hired by Exxon in 1979 to help senior scientists at the time work on its supertanker project, said he was “not surprised that the science was spot on.” “What I am surprised about is that despite all of this knowledge within the company,” Dr. Garvey said, “they continued down the path that they did.” William D. Collins, who leads the Climate & Ecosystem Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and who was not involved with the new study, called its analysis “very sound.” The new research showed that Exxon’s projections “were very consistent over time,” he said. “They knew all of that. They’ve known it for decades.”
By Hiroko Tabuchi. New York Times. January 12, 2023.