Report: As Big Oil fought regulations, it prepared for Global Warming

A new report suggests that even though Big Oil seemed to know Global Warming was a threat, they lobbied against reforms.

Alex Bourque | Jan 25, 2016

It's not secret that oil companies have fought tooth and nail against climate change regulations that would have hampered their business, but a new report indicates that all the while they braced for the impacts of global warming.

In an advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post in 1997 during the Kyoto climate change meetings, Mobil Oil argued that the science of climate change was "too uncertain" to mandate that countries follow a plan that could result in economic downturns, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

However, a year earlier than that, the Times noted that Mobil Oil construction exploration and production facilities in Nova Scotia that accounted for rising temperatures and sea levels expected from climate change in the coming decades. Mobile engineers even stated in their design specifications what the estimated rise in water level would "due to global warming."

Ultimately, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was never ratified, and nearly 20 years later their remains no binding agreement to tackle climate change, although the recent Paris talks laid out a framework for what world leaders must do.

The report further noted that internal research at Exxon agreed with the scientific consensus on global warming in the 1980s, even as the company's marketing efforts focused on casting doubt and uncertainty on climate change. All around the world, engineers were designing offshore platforms, pipelines, and facilities with erosion and rising sea levels from global warming in mind.

The oil industry claims that they were merely making allowances just in case global warming was right while at the same time attempting to protect the industry from baseless regulations.

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