Tell state Attorney General Ferguson to investigate Exxon! And please sign our petition to Governor Inslee to divest the State from ExxonMobil! One of the scions of Standard Oil (Exxon’s precursor) has divested and put the money to fighting climate change: we should do no less.
In the coming months, we’ll be working to spread awareness of the travesty of Exxon’s behavior: using yard signs (see at right), direct action, overpass light brigades, and more. Join us if you can!
There’s also a terrific national site here; check it out, but make sure to come back here–we need you!
In September, both the Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Timesbegan publishing articles based on their (separate) investigations into what Exxon knew about climate change, and when. A few key details:
- By 1977 at the latest, #ExxonKnew that carbon from fossil fuels was warming the planet.
- In 1978, its own scientist told the company that “present thinking holds that man has a time window of 5-10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy.”
- By 1981, Exxon “researchers had concluded that rising CO2 levels could create catastrophic impacts within the first half of the 21st century if the burning of oil, gas and coal wasn’t contained.”
- Nevertheless, “in the decades that followed, Exxon worked…at the forefront of climate denial.”
- Exxon “used the global circulation models developed by the Canadian Climate Centre and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to anticipate how climate change could affect a variety of operations in the Arctic. These were the same models that — for the next two decades — Exxon’s executives publicly dismissed as unreliable.”
In essence, they broke the world–and they knew they were doing so. Because of Exxon’s fraud and the lies of its executives, we’ve lost decades in the fight against catastrophic climate change. To gain some understanding of what could have happened after Exxon funded its carbon research, read Bill McKibben’s “Imagine if Exxon had told the truth on climate change“.
These revelations make a mockery of the idea that we’re all responsible: till the 60′s, very few people even guessed what kind of impact we were having on the planet’s climate systems. But these investigations make it clear that even as early as the 70′s, this was established knowledge among Exxon’s scientists (and other climate scientists). And instead of alerting the world, they funded the rogue outfits that spent decades telling everyone that climate change wasn’t real, or wasn’t bad, and we shouldn’t listen to the scientists trying to warn us (they were only in it for the grant funding, according to this nonsense).
So what can we do now? We can make sure it’s politically impossible not to prosecute the company and hold it to the highest possible legal standard.
In addition to isolating ExxonMobil by encouraging divestment, we need to start a conversation around reparations. Shifting the world’s energy systems to sustainable renewables will save trillions of dollars when compared to doing nothing, but because we’ve lost so much time, we won’t be able to avoid some catastrophes, and we’ll need meaningful amounts of money to moderate the impacts of these: providing support to victims of climate impacts, helping developing countries leapfrog dirty energy and improve their standards of living, and much more. How better to pay for this than with the profits of the companies that caused it all? ExxonMobil is the richest company in history, and it made that money by stealing the future.
Senators Bernie Sanders & Sheldon Whitehouse and Reps. Ted Lieu & Mark DeSaulnier have called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate for possible civil RICO prosecution. 4 House Reps have also called on the SEC to investigate for fraud: this could mean jail time.
Revelations like these were just what finally took down the tobacco companies, and the resulting penalties funded healthcare and antismoking campaigns for years.Help us make sure this even more catastrophic deception has a proportionate response.
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