As early as 1977, representatives from major fossil fuel companies attended dozens of congressional hearings in which the contribution of carbon emissions to the greenhouse effect was discussed.
In 1988, the issue moved beyond the scientific community and onto the national stage. James Hansen, a leading NASA climate scientist, testified before Congress that scientific data had confirmed that industrial activities were causing climate change. It was also in 1988 that the United Nations formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Congress introduced the National Energy Policy Act in an effort to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.
It is difficult to imagine that executives, lobbyists, and scientists at major fossil companies were by this time unaware of the robust scientific evidence of the risks associated with the continued burning of their products.
More than half of all industrial carbon emissions have been released since 1988—after major fossil fuel companies knew about the harm their products were causing. Enlarge image.
Indeed, one of the key documents highlighted in the deception dossiers is a 1995 internal memo written by a team headed by a Mobil Corporation scientist and distributed to many major fossil fuel companies. The internal report warned unequivocally that burning the companies' products was causing climate change and that the relevant science "is well established and cannot be denied."
How did fossil fuel companies respond? They emarked on a series of campaigns to deliberately deceive the public about the reality of climate change and block any actions that might curb carbon emissions.
The result? More than half of all industrial carbon emissions have been released since 1988 and there is still no comprehensive U.S. federal policy to address the problem.
Climate deception dossier has memos from a dirty industry