Three things you need to know about three decades of deception about climate change

Three things you need to know about three decades of deception about climate change

More than half of the carbon dioxide ever created by humans has been released into the atmosphere since 1988.

That was the year NASA climate scientist James Hansen told Congress that global warming was already under way and burning fossil fuels was the primary cause. Hansen’s testimony catapulted climate change from a low-key scientific specialty and the subject of obscure Capitol Hill committee hearings onto the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.

The oil, gas, and coal industries knew Hansen and his peers had the facts straight, but they responded with years of efforts to undercut carbon-cutting regulations, mostly by creating doubts about climate science, especially the link between burning fossil fuels and rising global temperatures.

So, Why Should You Care?

The fruits of these campaigns to distort the scientific findings about global warming are thriving in 2015. As the stunt Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., recently pulled on the Senate floor with a snowball vividly demonstrates, the national conversation is still stuck on arguing about settled science rather than discussing and debating how the U.S. will respond.

A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists backs up its charges that “many of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies have knowingly worked to deceive the public about the realities and risks of climate change” with decades of internal industry documentation of those campaigns.

Here are three high points from the report:

1. at least one major oil company knew the risks of climate change three decades ago but denied them in public

2. years after acknowledging privately that the links between human activities and climate change were proven, major oil firms including Exxon and Mobil (premerger), Chevron, Shell, and BP continued to argue that there was “unsettled science” about this connection

3. despite the increasing severity of climate change impacts in the U.S. and around the world, industry campaigns to distort the realities around global warming and fossil fuels have not stopped

 

Source: Takepart

Date: August 2015

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Tags assigned to this article:
climate changefossil fuelsUnited States

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