Researchers: Exxon Misled the Public on Climate Change

This has been in the news before, but there’s more definitive proof now.

Two Harvard University researchers said in a study published on Wednesday they had collected data proving that Exxon Mobil Corp made “explicit factual misrepresentations” in newspaper ads it purchased to convey its views on the oil industry and climate science.

In an article in the journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes said they examined 187 documents, including internal memos, peer-reviewed papers by Exxon scientists and “advertorials” that ran in The New York Times – paid advertisements in the style of opinion pieces. The researchers said they used a social science analysis method to turn statements in the documents into data points that could be counted and compared to each other.

Supran and Oreskes said that as early as 1979, Exxon scientists acknowledged burning fossil fuels was adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise, but they said the company’s position in newspaper ads remained significantly different by consistently asserting doubt about climate science.