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What Exxon Knew About Climate Change

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Amiga, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. Amiga

    Amiga 80s
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    Some quotes below. The rest here. In depth reporting Part 1 and Part 2. Part 3 will appear next week.

     
  2. snowconeman22

    snowconeman22 Member

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    As dark as this may seem, I cant blame a firm for acting it own best interests . This is the dangerous side of unbridled capitalism and a government that steps aside in the name of efficiency. I'm not sure any alternative is better , but I place " blame" for this on the system and not Exxon itself.
     
  3. g1184

    g1184 Member

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    Government oversight is unnecessary. The invisible guiding hand of the free market will work in the people's favor. If people didn't want global warming, they would have stopped buying gasoline years ago. All government intrusion will do is harm the people's unalienable right to buy cheap gasoline. It's blasphemous and un-American. Supply and demand people, sheesh.
     
  4. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    The fact that scientists and people posing as climate scientists can take funding from these companies means that all scientists are corrupt and that they're all in it for the money.

    You can't argue the numbers!
     
  5. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Do you say the same for human beings?
    You don't blame them when they do something criminal or immoral but was in their best interest?

    ie. stealing to feed their kids
    etc etc etc

    just curious

    Rocket River
     
  6. mateo

    mateo Contributing Member

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    Some of us have cut back on gasoline. I bought a fuel efficient vehicle, sold my second car, and take the train and ferry to work. But I have the luxury of 1) living somewhere with ample alternative transportation options and 2) being able to afford a hybrid SUV. I'm not the norm. Also, I cannot just stop buying gasoline.

    People cant just "stop buying gasoline". We need their gasoline-burning cars because they are the most affordable and potentially only option for getting around. And we will continue to buy them until energy efficient transportation is cheaper than inefficient versions. We're not there. We need to be.
     
  7. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Sounds like a non-sequitur. Is Exxon responsible for AGW and "denial"?
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga 80s
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    Exxon knew about climate change from their own Scientist in the 1977-78. They not only didn't care, but went on a disinformation campaign, one that is very successful in some part of the globe, especially here in the US.
     
  9. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Like I said - it's a silly notion to say it is all Exxon's fault. Is this suppose to exonerate someone for something?

    Also, I'll take a technical issue with the article because the consensus on global warming among atmospheric researchers didn't occur until the late-1980's. I'm wondering how anyone could have seen anykind of global warming when temperature datasets like the GISS dataset didn't show a warming trend up until 1977.
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga 80s
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    Want to call it pioneer work by scientists then?

    That's your notion. Exxon, as stated knew and went on an active disinformation campaign. I am sure there are plenty of others with interest in also playing the same game. It's nothing surprising. We have seen these behaviors plenty.
     
  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Didn't the tobacco companies also have their own research that showed there was a link between smoking and lung cancer years before it became common knowledge?
     
  12. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Didn't Svante Arrhenius have knowledge of the CO2 greenhouse effect before it became common knowledge?
     
  13. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    It is unclear from the article how Exxon knew about global warming ahead of NASA scientist and how they were able to discern whether the anthropogenic greenhouse and other warming components were effectively greater than the anthropogenic cooling effects.
     
  14. Amiga

    Amiga 80s
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    The article said they had near a decade of climate research in the mid 70 to 80s by top scientists that they recruited. I don't know if NASA scientist were even that interested in this area at that time. They were perhaps the pioneer of climate research related to global warming, including climate modeling. The article also said they were praised by the scientific community, by the government, including those in the Reagan's administration for showing and demonstrating a corporation that is responsible and a model for others to follow.

    But then, it happen. Money must have spoken. They at some point realize the huge impact to their bottom line and did a 180 to funded misinformation campaign.

    Did they know for sure? The article said they knew enough in 1977 to have a sense of urgency, saying they had general agreements with increasing consensus over the the decade of research to answer some of the unknowns they had in 1977. I doubt there were general consensus until later.

    I know what you are trying to get at. You can keep that to your thread :).

    This thread is about, and it shouldn't be of any surprise except at the level of actual scientific research that Exxon did early on, how a huge corporation knew enough to know but decided to not just be quiet, but turn around and start an active misinformation campaign to insert doubt, confuse the public and influence policy makers. That is why corporation get a "bad" rep sometime - we know their interest almost always lies with their pocket, even with information that it would risk public health or more, as in this case.
     
  15. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    The American public been "debating" about global warming for a good 25 years despite more evidence that is it happening and cementing that we're the cause of it.

    The strong majority of scientific consensus that doesn't align with public polls is large in part to the denial campaign companies like Exxon are promoting.

    Seed and sustain doubt, then profit until you can't profit further.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warmin...sil-fuel-industry-disinformation-tactics.html

    <iframe width="800" height="503" src="//stacks.newsbound.com/explainers/ucs_disinfo/app/" name="nb-stack" class="newsbound-embedded" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    He wasn't working for a company in the fossil fuel industry that had a financial interest in suppressing such information.
     
  17. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Slightly related, NRG has been pursuing a green strategy for electricity the last couple of years. They own a lot of coal generation which they intend to keep for its useful life, but they've also been investing in rooftop solar, utility-scale solar, wind, clean coal, carbon capture, etc. The view of the CEO is that we're headed to a future of renewable generation backed with gas-fired turbine peakers. But just Friday, they were forced into a new strategy that de-emphasizes their green initiatives because their investor base wasn't having it. The stock price has kept dropping and dropping, and the company was getting pressure to split so that investors who wanted the yield from brown generation didn't see their returns get eaten up with adventures into the new energy economy. As a society, we lament when companies aren't forward-thinking or who won't change with the times. This is a company that was trying to do that, and got slapped down by the stock market. Can we put all the blame on corporations, when we as a society apparently don't put value enough in it to reward those companies for doing the right thing? Sure Exxon could have announced their findings way back then. But, the stock price would have dropped, commodity prices would get hurt, the CEO would lose his job, and to save a sinking company the board of directors would have picked a new guy that would fight to maximize shareholder value. Capitalism encourages this behavior and punishes and eliminates actors who won't go along. We need something outside of corporations to bring the research and set the policy.
     
  18. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    Are shareholders an accurate proxy for society?

    How much of the pie do hedge funds, private equity firms, fin banks, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds take up compared to collective individual investors?

    As a retiree, one solely reliant on that stipend would likely only care about the double digit returns promised over any lasting social benefit any single company could provide.

    Furthermore, what purpose does market value have in terms of long term operational capacity? Is that alone a good indicator to reward its decision makers over past short term performance?

    Capitalism is rigged right now. It can still function, so I'm disappointed the conservative faction hasn't been able to think deeper and promote solutions while preserving its core beliefs. One would be to promote and reward customer value as an indicator of corporate success over relative shareholder value.

    I'm not sure I understand this right, but it seems like we already do have outside research facilities, it's just that those interest groups strongly disagree with the findings and it's cheaper to seed doubt and delay rather than work towards an actionable and sustainable answer.
     
  19. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Well, yeah I think so. Anyone can buy shares of a publicly traded company. The price of the shares is determined by the demand for those shares. If some institutional investor sells an eco-minded energy company because they just want yield out of coal-fired plants, well there is someone on the other side of that transaction that is interested in that eco-minded investment proposition. That the stock price is taking a beating suggests that there isn't a lot of demand for buying into that eco-minded investment -- neither from the pool of individual investors, nor the pool of non-investors who could theoretically be motivated to become investors, nor the institutional investors who themselves have investors. Now, NRG has other problems too, and besides they don't have a $0.00 stock price, but if society really did assign a high value to uneconomic investments into the greater good of mankind you would absolutely see that manifest itself in the stock market. So it is a proxy.

    But, the point of the post was not primarily to point the finger at everyone and say 'you did this' because it's all more complicated than that. The point was that Exxon and the other disinformation miscreants are products of the system and these behaviors are more or less inevitable. And it's the reason why we need a civil sphere and a governmental sphere that are independent of corporations. We have those, though they aren't always as independent as we'd like.
     
  20. Amiga

    Amiga 80s
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    Part 3 is out. Part 4 to come.

    [​IMG]

     

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