A review of 187 public and internal Exxon documents found 83 per cent of peer-reviewed papers authored by Exxon scientists and 80 per cent of the company’s internal communications acknowledged climate change is “real and human-caused”. In contrast, only 12 per cent of Exxon’s advertorials directed at the public did so, with 81 per cent instead expressing doubt.
“On the question of whether ExxonMobil misled non-scientific audiences about climate science, our analysis supports the conclusion that it did,” Dr Geoffrey Supran and Dr Naomi Oreskes state in the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters on Wednesday.
The year-long study is an expansive, quantitative, independent corroboration of the findings of investigative journalists, whom ExxonMobil had accused of using “deliberately cherry-picked statements”. This latest peer-reviewed work goes further, showing ExxonMobil knew about the basic realities of climate change decades ago, and simultaneously communicated positions that were at odds with this knowledge to the general public.