Internal docs reveal that Canada's Exxon subsidiary knew about climate change risks and lied about it for decades

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/08/filthiest-oil-anywhere.html

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If you look at the history of the largest international oil & gas companies, you’ll see that they diversified into alternatives quite a while ago, and have been increasing that percentage.

Meanwhile, they send their mid-level executives to give talks to investors in smaller firms to convince them that the time is right to buy up any assets that they’re selling off, using right wing talking points to sound most convincing.

The industries that will be most affected by climate change…the guys (almost always guys) at the top have known for a long time.

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The insurance industry doesn’t take chances - they have been factoring climate change into their models and tables for decades. EVERYBODY knows this is a thing, even the deniers, but there is simply too much money to be made pretending that it’s not.

THIS - THIS is why humanity is just a different sort of yeast. We will fill the earth with our shit and then die in it.

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I was chatting a few weeks ago with a former scientist of a major oil company. They were using their tanker fleet as mobile labs to sample for carbon impacts but got shut down in the 80’s. They knew well enough what was going on, but … politics.

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ds9-quark-shocked

More like profits. I suspect that they had a huge say in climate policy, and paid handsomely for the privilege to do so, so that they could continue to make record breaking profits, because that’s the most “moral good” according to Ayn Rand.

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More like profits.

Fair point. Hazard of my profession, conflating profits and politics.

Give the devils their due, though: this has been a very long game to play and they’ve played it right up to the point where an entire continent is roasting its residents alive and said citizens are only just starting to doubt the party line.

We got a little taste in Ontario about two years ago with a record forest fire year, one reason why the “Conservative” Party lost the election quite so sharply. (That’s the former leader, Mr. Scheer.)

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Indeed, I totally agree with that. We as citizens, even when we join up with larger organizations, just don’t have the deep pockets of the energy companies. This has been a complicated problem, based on the interconnection of money and politics (I don’t know how much that applies to the Canadian case, as I don’t know what campaign finance laws look like there). In addition to rooting oil money out of politics, they need to get out of the mass media and academia, too.

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In addition to rooting oil money out of politics, they need to get out of the mass media and academia, too.

I find myself thinking of The Day After and how that scared everyone, including Ronald Reagan. Couple that with unsustainable foreign debt loads in the Soviet Union and it was a touch-stone event in the end of the Cold War.

I think it will be, as it was with the Cold War, a combination of financial un-sustainability and popular fatigue with evil cheerleaders, led both from above and the grassroots, that wins out. A touch-stone event would help. I’m guessing that Australia might be that, and they themselves might actually have a change of heart. Canada’s push is being led IMO by Quebec, but they have the advantage of scads of hydro power. Ontario wobbles, we have hydro and nuclear, but can be a bit staid. Alberta is a hard sell with their local economy how it is (people gotta eat, just saying).

With luck, we’ve had a tipping point in global opinion this year and not a tipping point in environmental change.

It’s a shame that The Day After Tomorrow was just a little bit too silly. They made a mess of the science, which detracted from any chance of a credible story and a real impact (give me a day with the source code, I’ll find you the line that gave the silly environmental simulation results that the movie used).

… but I digress …

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I hope so. Things seem rather dire right now…

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I think you’ll find that politics is spelled p r o f i t in capitalism’s favoured dictionary.

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