The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Exxon Knew, and Lied, about Climate Change

Jan 23, 2023

A new study shows that, already in the 1970s, executives of the oil company Exxon had very accurate data about global warming in their hands.

It is no secret that Exxon knew burning fossil fuels would cause the earth’s average temperature to increase—old company memos, revealed in 2015, had already shown that. But this new study carries that finding further and makes it more precise.

Now we know that in the 1970s, Exxon’s own scientists accurately predicted how much the earth’s average temperature would increase in connection with the increase in carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Exxon scientists also stated that effects of this warming would be visible starting in the early 2000s.

But Exxon executives not only kept a lid on their own scientists’ findings; they also tried to cast doubt on such findings, and on warnings from other scientists. In 2000, former ExxonMobil (the company’s name changed when it merged with Mobil in 1999) CEO Lee Raymond said, "We don’t have a sufficient scientific understanding of climate change to make reasonable predictions." In 2013 another company CEO, Rex Tillerson, who later was Trump’s Secretary of State, said, "There are uncertainties around the climate … what the principal drivers of climate change are."

They flat-out lied!

Other industry documents, unearthed by researchers and journalists, have revealed that other oil companies, coal companies and auto manufacturers all knew, at least since the 1970s and some even earlier, that burning fossil fuels would cause global warming. And yet company executives in all these industries did what Exxon executives did: they lied.

They lied because they put company profits above everything else, including the interests of humanity. One more proof that we cannot afford to allow these people to stay in charge of the economy.