Guest post by David Middleton
This morning’s edition of Real Clear Energy brought to my attention the dumbest attack on ExxonMobil and the oil industry that I have ever seen.
- New Offshore Rules Debut
- …Industry Fears New Costs
- Pressure On Exxon Amps Up
- 1st Offshore Export For Exxon
- Russia’s India Beachhead
So, I clicked on the link and it took me to an idiotic article in the New York Times…
Pressure on Exxon Mobil and the energy industry increased on Wednesday with the release of a new cache of decades-old industry documents aboutclimate change, even as Exxon pushed back against efforts to investigate the company over its climate claims through the years.
The documents, according to the environmental law center’s director, Carroll Muffett, suggest that the industry had the underlying knowledge of climate change even 60 years ago.
“From 1957 onward, there is no doubt that Humble Oil, which is now Exxon, was clearly on notice” about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the prospect that it was likely to cause global warming, he said.
I just had to see what documents were so damning, so I clicked the link to “the project.”
When I began perusing the “documents,” I just about fell off of my chair laughing. Here are a couple of examples…
The Robinson Report for the API, 1968
This document basically concludes that CO2 might be a greenhouse gas and might have some effect on the climate, or not…
An Emerging Science, as told by the scientifically illiterate, 1955-1958
This section contains three papers. The first two, written by Humble Oil Company employees, deal with radiocarbon dating…
The third is a paper published by the International Meteorological Institute. It was authored by Bert Bolin and Erik Eriksson and sponsored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Office of Naval Research… I have yet to figure out the connection to the oil industry with this one.
The Smoking Gun?
BRANNON: EXXONMOBIL ON NOTICEEven as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rose and climate science expanded, during the first half of the 20th century, many researchers assumed that most excess CO2 would be absorbed by the ocean, minimizing impacts on atmospheric temperature. In 1957, a landmark paper by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess of the Scripps Institute upturned that conventional wisdom, demonstrating that far more CO2 would remain in the atmosphere than previously assumed, potentially accelerating the impact of global climate change.Two months after the Revelle and Suess paper was published, Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) scientists led by H.R. Brannon submitted their own study for publication on the same question. Building on the team’s earlier work on radiocarbon dating, and submitting under the company’s name, the Brannon paper provides the earliest indisputable evidence we have yet found of oil company knowledge of climate science and climate risk. Significantly, the Brannon report acknowledges not only rising levels of atmospheric CO2, but also the evident contribution of fossil fuels to that increase. In acknowledged disagreement with Revelle, however, the Brannon paper suggests that CO2 would be retained in the oceans much longer before returning to the atmosphere, which would delay by decades or centuries the impact of fossil fuel emissions.
We’ll skip the Revelle and Suess paper because ExxonMobil had nothing to do with it and it was published in a manner accessible to the public. We’ll focus on the *secret* document prepared by H. R. Brannon, the radiocarbon dating guy…
The idiocy of this report is mind boggling. The rest of the documents deal with oil industry studies of paleo-sea level, an integral part of sedimentary geology, efforts to understand hurricanes, kind of important in offshore drilling and production and the industry’s efforts to ensure that pollution regulations and laws were crafted in a wise, efficient and economically sustainable manner.