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Exxon predicted global warming in 1970s despite publicly dismissing climate change, research finds

Exxon Mobil, an oil giant, predicted that global warming would occur in the 1970s with astonishing accuracy. However, the company contradicted this research publicly, according to a study.

Exxon’s 1977 research used more than a dozen computer models that accurately predicted that the world would heat by around 0.2 degrees Celsius each decade.

Exxon’s scientists correctly predicted the climate crisis, with a precision that was equal or better than academic and government research.

However, the oil company slammed the claims that climate change is real and dismissed studies that predicted future global warming.


The study published in Science found that Exxon’s historical research met academic standards.

Continue reading: Climate Change: What Progress Has Been Made

Naomi Oreskes from Harvard Science History was the study’s coauthor. She said Exxon’s research is “actually amazing” and referred to Exxon Mobil’s “hypocrisy due to so much of Exxon Mobil’s disinformation over so many years…was that climate models weren’t reliable.”

Climate Crisis: More

An Exxon employee made public a collection of documents in 2015. It showed that the company knew about climate change long before it was a major public concern.

The new study reveals the extent and accuracy of Exxon’s internal research.

Exxon spokesperson Todd Spitler said that the company’s understanding and application of climate science has improved along with the wider scientific community. The company’s four decades of climate science research resulted in more 150 papers, 50 of which were peer-reviewed.

He said, “This topic has been brought up many times in recent years. In each case, we have answered the same: those talking about how Exxon Knew are wrong in their conclusions.”

“In 2019, Judge Barry Ostrager, NY State Supreme Court, listened to all facts in a similar case before him and wrote: “What the evidence at trial showed is that ExxonMobil executives were consistently committed to rigorously discharge their duties in the most thorough and meticulous manner possible …. The testimony of these witnesses proved that ExxonMobil’s culture is one of disciplined analysis and planning, accounting and reporting.”

Geoffrey Supran from the University of Miami was the lead author of the study. He said that “Exxon knew” and that his analysis is the final proof.

“[It] provides us with clear evidence that Exxon Mobil correctly predicted global warming many years ago, and then attacked the science behind it.”

Lee Raymond, ex-CEO of Exxon, stated in the study that future climate projections were based on unproven climate models or, more often, speculation.

Exxon, one the largest oil and gas companies in the world, has been the subject of several lawsuits. These lawsuits allege that Exxon knew the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels.

Exxon, along with other oil companies was also charged in the US Congress hearings of 2021 with spreading misinformation about climate. The accusations were denied by executives of the company.


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