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Catastrophic Climate Change: You Were Misled to Enhance Oil Industry Profits.


2019.01.01

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
- Abraham Lincoln

You Have Been Misinformed and It Was Intentional

1991 - Climate of Concern The movie Shell released in 1991 which identified the primary causes and consequences of climate change. Note the references to recent warming trends in the most recent decade (the 1980s). Subsequent work generally repeats this meme: the warmest decade on record is the most recent one. That's called a pattern. Also note the range of temperature increases: between 1.5 and 4 degrees. Now we have blown through 1.5 and recognize 4 will be a catastrophic outcome. A quote from the movie: "Change too fast, perhaps, for life to adapt." That seems pretty clear, and it came in what is essentially a public statement from the fossil fuel industry in 1991.

The movie is 30 minutes long. Please take the time to watch it, remembering this was released by a major oil company in 1991 - almost 30 years ago.

How did we get to today's wide belief that climate change is a hoax, or overblown, or won't cause significant problems for us? Through a well-funded, co-ordinated campaign to disinform the public for their own short-term self-interest. As a result, our species chose not to act in a significant way to this alarm for 3 decades. Are we moving fast enough now? Almost assuredly not. And as we only have one planet to live on and one chance to run this experiment, we certainly have a vested interest in getting it right.

2015-10-26 - Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago (Scientific American)

2016-04-13 - Oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago (The Guardian)

2017-08-22 - Harvard Study Finds Exxon Misled Public about Climate Change (Inside Climate News)

2018-01-01 - On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming (The Guardian)

2018-04-05 - What Oil Companies Knew About Climate Change and When: A Timeline (Climate Liability News)

2018-06-25 - Judge Dismisses Suit Against Oil Companies Over Climate Change Costs (New York Times)

2018-05-18 - What 30 Years of Documents Show Shell Knew About Climate Science (DeSmogUK)

2018-09-19 - Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings (The Guardian)

Get the general gist of the above? The fossil fuel industry knew what they were causing and instead of working towards a path to a survivable planet, they funded misleading information, convinced policymakers to delay and defund the appropriate actions and doubled down on short-term profits. An Internet search will quickly turn up many more results supporting what the articles above indicate.

How bad was this industry-funded effort? Well, so bad that even Forbes magazine - an iconic media representative of U.S. business and the 1% actually published this piece: Indisputable Facts on Climate Change (November 29, 2018).
Follow-on article: An Underutilized Approach for Combating Climate Change (December 2, 2018)

But if you want to understand real mainstream thinking by the experts on the state of climate change, here's a solid summary by experts.

If we had heeded early warnings from the fossil fuel industry in the 1960s and 1970s, we could have averted climate change almost entirely. If we had acted in the 1980s, when the science was already conclusive, we could have averted catastrophic climate change with minimal adjustments. (New York Times piece "Losing Earth") If we had acted in the 1990s, living up to the commitments from the Rio Summit, we could have averted catastrophe by changing behaviours and improving fuel economy standards. We didn't do any of those when they would have been easy. Now, we're going to do it the hard way, or suffer the consequences.

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