Internal Documents for the Harvard Study That Shows Exxon Lied About Climate Change
Two Harvard researchers compared almost four decades’ worth of internal, scientific, and external documents from Exxon, showing that the giant oil corporation privately knew about and accepted climate change while publicly proclaiming doubt. Their article “Assessing ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Communications (1977–2014)” in the journal Environmental Research Letters reveals:
“[A]ccounting for expressions of reasonable doubt, 83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists’ academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public.”
The study has gotten lots of coverage, including at the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Inside Climate News, and The Verge, and the authors wrote an Op-Ed for the NY Times: “What Exxon Mobil Didn’t Say About Climate Change”
One type of document that the researchers examined was internal records – memos, letters, presentations, briefings, etc. meant for circulation only within the company. In the 131-page “Supplementary Information” PDF that accompanies the article, they provide links to the three sets of internal documents they use on page 16. Since this info is somewhat buried, I’m highlighting it here, with some additional mirrors.
The Three Sources of Internal Documents
The resulting series of articles: “Exxon: The Road Not Taken“