Since the 1970's regulations that were intended to hold corporations in check, were gradually eroded leaving big business, free to cause untold damage to our society and the planet. All in the name of chasing ever increasing profits, while never being held accountable for the inevitable carnage and destruction that followed.
In 1978 senior scientists at Exxon were telling top management that climate change was real, it was man made and that left unchecked it would raise global temperatures by 2-3 degrees Celcius by the end of the century.
The head of one of Exxon's key research labs wrote to his supervisors that there was "unanimous agreement in the scientific community that a temperature increase of this magnitude would bring about significant changes in the earth's climate, including rainfall distribution and alterations in the biosphere"
In the beginning of the 1990's Exxon researchers studying the possibility for new exploration in the Arctic were well aware that human induced climate change was melting polar ice caps. Rather than making this information public, Exxon hid it and instead used the knowledge to buy oil leases in areas that they knew would soon be ice free.
In 1988 James Hansen, a NASA scientist released a seminal report which showed that climate change was real and that global temperatures were rising. Being a massively profitable corporation, whose revenues depended on fossil fuels Exxon used their billions to ridicule the now irrefutable science, that their actions were destroying the planet. Helping to found and lead the Global Climate Coalition, an alliance of some of the world's largest companies Exxon used their lobbying power to prevent global governments attempts to curb fossil fuel emissions.
1997 saw political leaders from all over the world come together in Kyoto to hammer out a solution to reduce fossil fuel emissions and attempt to turn the tide against climate change. In the same year speaking at the World Petroleum Congress, Lee Raymond, Exxon chairman had these words to say "Let's agree that there's a lot that we really don't know about how climate will change in the21st Century and beyond". He went on to add "We need to understand the issue better and fortunately we have time. It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be significantly affected whether policies are enacted now or 20 years from now."
At a time when the TTIP deal between the EU and the USA is seeking to give even more power to corporations at the expense of national governments, this surely shows the consequences of such actions.
Exxon: The Road Not Taken - A report by Inside Climate News
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- Tags: Climate Change, Corporate Power, Fossil Fuels, Globalisation, Loss of Sovereignty, Trade Deals, TTIP