An anonymous reader shared this report from the Guardian:

ExxonMobil executives privately sought to undermine climate science even after the oil and gas giant publicly acknowledged the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change, according to previously unreported documents revealed by the Wall Street Journal.

The new revelations are based on previously unreported documents subpoenaed by New York’s attorney general as part of an investigation into the company announced in 2015. They add to a slew of documents that record a decades-long misinformation campaign waged by Exxon, which are cited in a growing number of state and municipal lawsuits against big oil… In 2008, Exxon pledged to stop funding climate-denier groups. But that very same year, company leadership said it would support the company in directing a scientist to help the nation’s top oil and gas lobbying group write a paper about the “uncertainty” of measuring greenhouse gas emissions…

The documents could bolster legal efforts to hold oil companies accountable for their alleged attempts to sow doubt about climate science. More than two dozen U.S. cities and states are suing big oil, claiming the industry knew for decades about the dangers of burning coal, oil and gas but hid that information.

More context from NPR:

Earlier investigations found Exxon worked for decades to sow confusion about climate change, even though its own scientists had begun warning executives as early as 1977 that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels were warming the planet, posing dire risks to human beings. By the late 1980s, concern was growing domestically and overseas that fossil fuel use was heating the planet, increasing the risks of extreme weather. In response, the Journal reported, Exxon executive Frank Sprow sent a memo to colleagues warning that if there were a global consensus on addressing climate change, “substantial negative impacts on Exxon could occur.” According to the Journal, Sprow wrote: “Any additional R&D efforts within Corporate Research on Greenhouse should have two primary purposes: 1. Protect the value of our resources (oil, gas, coal). 2. Preserve Exxon’s business options.”

Sprow told the Journal that the approach in his memo was adopted as policy, in “what would become a central pillar of Exxon’s strategy,” the paper said. A few years after the memo, Exxon became the architect of a highly effective strategy of climate change denial that succeeded for decades in politicizing climate policy and delaying meaningful action to cut heat-trapping pollution…

Last year, Exxon said it plans to spend about $17 billion on “lower emission initiatives” through 2027. That represents, at most, 17% of the total capital investments the company plans to make during that period. Exxon recently said it is buying a company called Denbury that specializes in capturing carbon dioxide emissions and injecting them into oil wells to boost production. It’s also planning to build a hydrogen plant and a facility to capture and store carbon emissions in Texas.


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