According to the latest papers that came to light recently, the oil industry knew all about climate change in the 50’s. The big companies were aware of the damage they were causing ever since climate change was still a theory. And they invested in keeping it a simple theory, seeding doubt in the heart of Americans so that they could continue burning fossil fuels without intervention or without being pressed to go green.
Inside anonymous sources reported that large enterprises in the oil industry even joked with one another about their abilities to melt ice caps. They were aware of the destruction they were bringing upon the planet, but they were not interested in going green and losing billions of dollars in the process.
In the early 1950’s, researchers were convinced that the greenhouse gasses emitted by the oil industry were absorbed by the oceans. But they were proved wrong in 1957 by Hans Suess and Roger Revelle. The two scientists wrote a long, comprehensive study that demonstrated that large quantities of carbon dioxide remain in the atmosphere, causing a spike in global temperatures.
This kind of news only meant that the fossil fuels industry will suffer, people turning to greener options. But even though the oil industry knew all about climate change in the 50’s, the big companies refused to let one single paper destroy their hard work.
So they started investing in different ways of turning the negative propaganda in their favor. They even went as far as creating a Fumes and Smoke Committee in Los Angeles, after the smog levels in the town became unbearable.
The aforementioned committee was in charge of deeming environmental regulations as unwarranted and costly efforts that were not worth the investment. Of course, the members of the group were representatives of oil companies.
The group functioned for many years, changing their name, but not their ultimate goal. Eventually, they even sponsored reports that stated that the burning of fossil fuels was not as dangerous to the environment as it was first deemed.
In 1968, the “Robinson Report” made by scientists from the Research Institute at Stanford warned people that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were at an all-time high. The paper also enumerated the various ways in which the Earth was affected by the greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.
But the oil industry knew all about climate change in the 50’s, and they managed to go more than a decade without rethinking their destructive ways. So a Stanford report didn’t stop them from releasing their own, altered version, accusing climate change researchers of being scientific frauds.
The oil industry knew all about climate change in the 50’s, and they used their resources to create confusion among Americans. Presently their political toys are calling themselves “doubters” so that they are able to continue supporting the destructive ways of the industry.
Photo courtesy of: Jan Smith, Flickr