August 23, 2017 Read More →

Harvard Study Concludes Exxon Misled Investors on Climate Risk

InsideClimate News:

A comprehensive, peer-reviewed academic study of ExxonMobil’s internal deliberations, scientific research and public rhetoric over the decades has confirmed empirically that the oil giant misled the public about what it knew about climate change and the risks posed by fossil fuel emissions, the authors said on Tuesday.

The paper confirms the findings of a 2015 investigative series by InsideClimate News that was based largely on the company’s internal records, and also of independent work published by the Los Angeles Times. That reporting ignited investigations by state attorneys general that are still in litigation.

“On the question of whether ExxonMobil misled non-scientific audiences about climate science, our analysis supports the conclusion that it did,” Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University wrote in the study, published today in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

Across the board, the paper found “a systematic discrepancy between what ExxonMobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public,” the authors said.

“ExxonMobil contributed quietly to the science and loudly to raising doubts about it,” they wrote.

The authors explicitly rejected Exxon’s main defense, which was to claim that journalists were “cherry picking” the company’s record and that its positions had always been in step with the state of the science. The company often said that anyone who read the full documentary record would see matters Exxon’s way.

The Harvard researchers said their task was to accept Exxon’s challenge to review the full record. Among the documents they examined were dozens cited in ICN’s work, as well as more than 50 scientific papers Exxon frequently mentioned in its own defense and its issue advertising.

Supran and Oreskes called their conclusions “an expansive, quantitative, independent corroboration of the findings of investigative journalists.”

In an interview, Supran said the evidence was unambiguous.

More: Harvard Study Finds Exxon Misled Public about Climate Change

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