“Exxon Knew:” Company’s climate research accurately projected global warming, study says – Axios

by | Jan 12, 2023 | Climate Change

Data: Supran et al. Science 2023; Chart: Axios VisualsExxonMobil’s own climate science research, which began in the 1970s, accurately predicted the pace and severity of global warming, a new study finds.Why it matters: The study is the first to examine the performance of Exxon’s internal climate modeling as well as its scientists’ collaborations with outside researchers. It provides a quantitative assessment of how much the company’s executives may have known about the risks of burning oil and gas and when. The study provides more evidence that Exxon’s communication to investors and the public through the 21st century, which has played down the threats posed by climate change and cast computer models as uncertain, did not match what executives were told internally. The research, dismissed by Exxon, may play a role in ongoing legal action against the company for allegedly misleading investors and the public about the dangers of global warming. The big picture: Exxon scientists have been at the forefront of climate change research using computer models, the study published in the journal Science shows. According to the study, between 63% and 83% of the climate projections reported by Exxon scientists were accurate in predicting subsequent global warming. The Exxon scientists’ projections showed the world would warm at a rate of about 0.20°C per decade, which was in line with independent academic and government studies in the 1970s through the early 2000s. According to the study, Exxon’s research also led to an accurate estimate of how much carbon dioxide could be emitted before the world would warm by more than 2°C. This implied that some of the company’s oil and gas holdings could become stranded assets, but such risks were not communicated to the company’s investors or the public, the study notes.Of note: The study a …

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