Oil Industry officials knew fossil fuels were capable of producing dramatic climate change during the 1960's, according to the Center for International Environmental Law. A new report claims some people in the industry even joked with one another about their ability to melt polar ice caps. According to the group, fossil fuels executives have been working since the 1940's in an effort to spin the propaganda narrative over the environmental consequences of their industry.
The role of fossil fuels in driving up concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been discussed by scientists since the end of the 19th century. During the first half of the 20th Century, most researchers believed greenhouse gases would largely be absorbed by oceans around the globe.
"In 1957, a landmark paper by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess of the Scripps Institute upturned that conventional wisdom, demonstrating that far more CO2 would remain in the atmosphere than previously assumed, potentially accelerating the impact of global climate change," The Center for International Environmental Law stated on its website.
Air pollution in the form of smog over Los Angeles in the 1940's led to the establishment of the Smoke and Fumes Committee. The express goal of this group, made up of representatives of the nation's largest oil companies, was to present environmental regulations as costly and unwarranted.
That group continued, under various names, for several years after their formation. By 1958, the re-branded committee was sponsoring the reports diminishing the role of fossil fuels in rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Stanford Research Institute scientists released a report to the American Petroleum Institute in 1968, highlighting the potential dangers of fossil fuels to the environment. The team put out a stark warning that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to warmer oceans, rising sea levels and thinning ice caps. The Robinson Report placed the blame for rising sea levels on the use of fossil fuels by human civilization.
Exxon, an oil company which has often been accused of manipulating climate data, is targeted once more in the latest report.
"Exxon has said its research widely mirrored the global understanding of climate issues at the time. The company last year accused climate researchers and other investigators of cherry-picking its record on the issue by largely ignoring its work on climate issues," UPI reported.
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