Had industry-funded climate science actually been shared

It has been well established that oil companies spread misinformation for decades about climate change. But many may wonder if the misinformation was an innocent oversight or if the companies intentionally spread information they knew not to be true. 

In a study published this month in Science, the authors concluded the latter. That is, the authors found that oil company scientists knew and shared with management that human-caused climate change was real and their projections at the time (during the 1970-80s) regarding global warming accurately predicted today’s climate crisis, even though management publicly denied it all: 

On the basis of company records, we quantitatively evaluated all available global warming projections documented by—and in many cases modeled by—[company] scientists between 1977 and 2003. We find that most of their projections accurately forecast warming that is consistent with subsequent observations. Their projections were also consistent with, and at least as skillful as, those of independent academic and government models. [They] also correctly rejected the prospect of a coming ice age, accurately predicted when human-caused global warming would first be detected, and reasonably estimated the “carbon budget” for holding warming below 2°C. On each of these points, however, the company’s public statements about climate science contradicted its own scientific data.

Photo by Strange Happenings

Read the article. What if fossil fuel companies had simply shared the truth instead of hiding it and preventing real progress on climate change? One can only imagine. 

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.  

Paul Litwin

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