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Congressional Forum Explores Fossil Fuel Industry Deceptions on Climate Change

Posted by Katya Baker on June 30, 2016

On June 22, 2016, the Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted a forum on the fossil fuel industry’s alleged deception on the issue of climate change. Looking specifically at Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, the forum discussed how Exxon knew of the hazards associated with fossil fuel extraction, production and use, and their relationship with climate change, at least 40 years ago.

Through climate change modelling and greenhouse gas research that they conducted in the late 1970s and 1980s, Exxon was well aware of the dangers associated with burning fossil fuels and the effects on the climate. Yet, instead of using their collected data to inform their decision-making and begin establishing more sustainable methods of energy production, Exxon embarked on a campaign of deception and misinformation.

Considering the colossal implications of climate change, we must consider the opportunity cost of Exxon’s socially and environmentally irresponsible actions. Had the potential harms of burning fossil fuels been disclosed those forty years ago, we may have already implemented successful and stronger climate change policy and be using sustainable means of energy production today.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has compiled a report on Exxon’s campaign of deception, which includes 336 pages worth of material and primary documents. For opinions on how Exxon could be charged with commercial fraud due to deliberately misinforming investors and buyers, see this Washington Post article. Additionally, by following the hashtag #ExxonKnew on Twitter, you can find tweets from the Congressional Progressive Caucus forum, further articles, and a video recording of the event.

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