Exxon Knew: California Sues Oil Giants for Committing Free Speech

Essay by Eric Worrall

Strangely the lawsuit does not include a demand oil giants immediately cease supplying their “catastrophic” product to the State of California.

California sues oil giants, saying they downplayed climate change. Here’s what to know

September 16, 20233:08 PM ET
By Juliana KimMichael Copley

The state of California has filed a sweeping climate lawsuit against Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, as well as the domestic oil industry’s biggest lobby, the American Petroleum Institute. 

The suit, filed on Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, claims that the companies misled the public for decades about climate change and the dangers of fossil fuels. It demands the companies help fund recovery efforts related to California’s extreme weather events, from rising sea levels to drought and wildfires, that have been supercharged by human-caused climate change.

“Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades — that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change — but have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment. Enough is enough,” said Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general.

California filed its lawsuit against Exxon and other oil and gas companies just a day after The Wall Street Journal reported that executives at Exxon continued in recent years to raise doubts internally about the dangers of climate change and the need to cut back on oil and gas use, even as the company publicly conceded that burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2023/09/16/1199974919/california-oil-lawsuit-climate-change

The referenced Wall Street Journal article is paywalled, but there are no amazing new revelations in there. Exxon admitted CO2 contributes to global warming – but no stunning confession of guilt.

The Californian lawsuit contains this gem;

3. Defendants are large companies in the fossil fuel industry who have misled consumers and the public about climate change for decades. Defendants have known since at least  the 1960s that fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution that  would warm the planet and change our climate. Defendants’ own scientists knew as early as the  1950s that these climate impacts would be catastrophic, and that there was only a narrow window  of time in which communities and governments could take action before the consequences  became catastrophic.

4. Rather than warn consumers, the public, and governments, however, Defendants mounted a disinformation campaign beginning at least as early as the 1970s to discredit the  burgeoning scientific consensus on climate change; deny their own knowledge of climate change- related threats; create doubt in the minds of consumers, the media, teachers, policymakers, and  the public about the reality and consequences of the impacts of burning fossil fuels; and delay the  necessary transition to a lower-carbon future.

Read more: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/FINAL-9-15-COMPLAINT.pdf

Just one problem with this claim – there is plenty of evidence none of this is true.

For example, the following is a copy of the Glaser 1982 memo, which was circulated to Exxon management.

Page 1Full PDF Document

The memo, and bear in mind this was a private internal memo, is anything but certain that climate change will have catastrophic impact. For example, at the bottom of Page 4, continuing to the top of Page 5.

“There is currently no unambiguous evidence that the earth is warming. If the earth is on a warming trend, we’re not likely to detect it before 1995. This is about the earliest projection of when the temperature might rise the 0.5° needed to get beyond the range of normal temperature fluctuations. On the other hand, if climate modelling uncertainties have exaggerated the temperature rise, it is possible that a carbon dioxide induced “greenhouse effect” may not be detected until 2020 at the earliest”.

Remember, this memo was written in 1982, 30 years after the lawsuit claims “Defendant’s own scientists knew as early as the 1950s that these climate impacts would be catastrophic”.

Worse, there were plenty of scientists at late as 1980 who published papers suggesting the world was cooling. There was a good reason for this – between 1940 to 1980, global warming stalled. For much of that period, the world cooled.

Climate alarmists try to pretend there was never a global cooling consensus, but there is plenty of evidence reputable climate scientists were comfortable promoting global cooling theories. For example, the wildly popular 1978 documentary “In Search of The Coming Ice Age” featured an impressive lineup of climate scientists, including Chester LangwayJames HayesGifford Miller (who described how the descent into the next ice age started 3000 years ago), and Stephen Schneider, who speculated about using nuclear energy to melt the ice caps, to halt the big freeze.

I remember watching the coming ice age documentary as a kid, and being impressed by the climate scientists who starred in the documentary. The entire “In search of” series was prime time viewing in Australia, because the presenter was actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Dr. Spock in the original Star Trek series. All the grownups were worried and talking about the imminent ice age the next day, after the documentary aired on TV.

Climate scientist Stephen Schneider, who appeared in the global cooling documentary, and speculated about using nuclear reactors to melt the icecaps, later backflipped and became a significant figure in the global warming movement.

My point is given the eagerness of high profile climate scientists to appear in a documentary which promoted the global cooling scare, which was made in 1978, the lawsuit’s accusation that scientists knew as early as the 1950s that global warming would have “catastrophic” impacts is total nonsense. There were clearly mixed opinions on whether global warming or global cooling was a threat, well into the late 1970s.

What about the present day? Anyone who reads this website will know there are a significant number of well credentialed scientists who dispute the alleged consensus that global warming will have imminent and catastrophic impacts.

The most glaring defect is the failure to demand the defendants immediately cease supplying their “catastrophic” product. Fossil fuel producers aren’t forcing people to accept fossil fuel. Given recent price rises, the market view could reasonably be interpreted as being that fossil fuel producers aren’t providing enough fossil fuel, especially in California, where the prices people pay for fossil fuel are amongst the highest in the USA.

The lawsuit demands “permanent equitable relief” – perhaps a lawyer can answer whether this implies California intends for oil companies to continue operating so they can pay regular large sums to the State of California, instead of forcing the oil companies to cease trading.

In my opinion, to demand a remedy for a “catastrophic” product, while at the same time not demanding that remedy include a cessation of supply, is an utter absurdity which should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Update (EW): fixed a small issue with paragraph ordering.

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It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 10:14 am

It keeps lawyers employed.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 17, 2023 7:16 pm

Lawyers keep lawyers employed.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 18, 2023 9:53 am

Especially when those lawyers become judges.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 18, 2023 9:37 pm

“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.” ~ H. L. Mencken

R Taylor
September 17, 2023 10:14 am

A reasonable response: Increase the price of your products sold in California to cover expected California-specific costs.

Reply to  R Taylor
September 17, 2023 10:33 am

I wonder what would happen if one or more oil companies in California decided to go Galt for a while.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 11:01 am

That’s exactly what they ought to do – if they don’t operate in the state (taking jobs with them) or sell product in the state, then they can’t be found liable!

Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 12:47 pm

How about a one week vacation for all oil company employees starting on the 1st of January?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 1:45 pm

Sell their California operations to the Chinese….

Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 2:41 pm

Too late. Colorado has been compromised.

Reply to  Scissor
September 17, 2023 7:23 pm

Right On! The law suit is saying that the oil business is bad – so the prudent thing to do is cease and desist ‘polluting’ California according to the wishes of the state government.

Reply to  Scissor
September 18, 2023 9:59 am

The problem is that most gas stations are franchises. The companies have contractual obligations to provide fuel.
Also if the oil companies stopped supplying fuel to their franchisees, the franchises would be out of business in a few weeks. They don’t have the deep pockets that the parent companies have, nor do they have sales in other states or countries to tide them over.

Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 10:16 am

One approach Exxon and the other defendants could take would be to argue that California is trying to regulate interstate commerce, as well as passing an ex post facto law by a backdoor “civil suit”.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2023 12:47 pm

Simple. If convicted they will be sued for and forced to pay a massive fine, ‘reparations’, for fictitious ‘damages’. Such a ruling would be tantamount to declaring that the defendants have committed a crime, why else the fine. Then the defendants can argue that they cannot be forced to continue committing that crime and decide all together and with immediate effect to stop supplying oil and gas products as well as electricity generated outside California in coal-fired power stations. I would give it a week before the last bucket of tar is used to chase their idiot governour and mental case of an attorney out of town covered in feathers.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 17, 2023 9:14 pm

Well not really – it won’t be a fine in a civil suit, it will be compensation for the “damage of climate change” – however even if it lost, ExxonMobil could easily claim that it is only responsible for its share of carbon emissions, not the portion in the air from China and the rest of the world. And I think it would also be valid to add that since the climate emergency rhetoric only emerged in the last few years, then the emissions before that point must have been OK. So, for the sake of argument, from 400ppm and up.

And of course it should point out in court all the good it’s products do, all the good the free extra CO2 does – point out agriculture yield improvements over the past century and certainly some part of that is due to the extra CO2.

Basically they need good lawyers, a good team of experts and the determination to never settle, because that is goal of the bullying government law-warfare.

Reply to  PCman999
September 18, 2023 1:57 pm

What a bunch of nonsense…the state knew what they were granting drilling licenses for. Why aren’t they to blame ? Exxon didn’t burn the fuel, why aren’t motorists, railroads, airlines, that burned the fuel they demanded from Exxon at fault ? Incredible ducking of responsibility going on…

September 17, 2023 10:18 am

If “[misleading] consumers and the public about climate change for decades” were actionable then Mike, Greta, Al, Naomi, the IPCC, and thousands of trough-slurping modelers would be making little ones out of big ones right now.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  QODTMWTD
September 17, 2023 11:06 am

IMO some of the oil producing and refining red states (Texas, Louisiana) ought to sue these organizations and individuals AND our current federal gov’t and EPA for undercutting their business! Might be harder to sue non-US entities, but surely they could attack those based or operating in this country.

September 17, 2023 10:41 am

The oil companies certainly should be held accountable for releasing vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and making food more plentiful and cheaper. How dare they?

Ronald Stein
September 17, 2023 10:43 am

Yes, California wants to eliminate the oil industry that is in CA to meet the demands of the state.

Those demands could easily be transferred to China who is coming to the rescue with Asia’s 88 new refineries for manufactured oil derivatives that are the basis of most every product being used by mankind, as well as the manufactured fuels used by every transportation infrastructure, and the military.


The California lawsuit is just another way of “leaking” emissions to other locations in the world with less environmental controls, thus great emissions for the world to help California become cleaner within the borders of the state.


If we eliminate the DEMANDS of society for jets, merchant ships, cruise liners, militaries, and space programs, there would be no need for oil!

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Ronald Stein
September 17, 2023 6:31 pm

If we eliminate the DEMANDS of society for jets, merchant ships, cruise liners, militaries, and space programs, there would be no need for oil!

If we eliminate the DEMANDS of society for jets, merchant ships, cruise liners, militaries, space programs, and CLOTHING, there would be no need for oil !

There – fixed.

Joseph Zorzin
September 17, 2023 10:45 am

Even today, the climate is hardly understood- yet CA thinks oil companies fully understood the climate several decades ago? I’ve heard rumors that Wokeachusetts may follow the lead of CA with a similar suit.

September 17, 2023 10:57 am

Why did only EXXON scientists know?

Plainly govt scientists did as well, so why did not succesive Fed Govts take no action?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Paul Homewood
September 17, 2023 12:11 pm

Apparently Exxon scientists are geniuses on the level of Einstein- so they should be offered Noble prizes! 🙂

Reply to  Paul Homewood
September 17, 2023 2:40 pm

How did Exxon “know” something that isn’t even real now.??

Yes, they knew about the baseless conjecture…

… but they also “knew” about the Easter Bunny, Goldilocks, and the Big Bad Wolf.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bnice2000
September 18, 2023 11:44 am

Exxon, just like everyone else who looked at the subject, did not know what CO2 would or would not do in the Earth’s atmosphere. That was true in 1982, and it is true today.

There is no evidence then or today that CO2 is causing any climate changes. It’s all natural variation until proven otherwise, and it hasn’t been proven otherwise as of this very minute.

Exxon knew what?

The prosecutors today know what?

Neither of them could prove CO2 is doing anything in the atmosphere, much less doing anything detrimental.

The whole lawsuit is absurd, based on no credible evidence.

A judge ought to know the difference between evidence and conjecture. Any logical person can figure out the difference.

Now the question is will the judge accept conjecture as evidence? Exxon wins if the judge sticks to the evidence.

There’s no evidence “Exxon Knew” and there is no evidence there is anything for Exxon to know in the first place, since it has not been shown that CO2 is anything other than a benign gas, essential for life on Earth.

This lawsuit is wrong on its two main points: That Exxon knew something nobody else knew, and that CO2 is a dangerous gas that needs to be regulated.

Hans Erren
September 17, 2023 11:04 am

Up unto “limits to growth” and “silent spring” global warming (climate amelioration) was considered a positive thing.

Rud Istvan
September 17, 2023 11:04 am

California has rampant crime and rampant homelessness. So the AG wastes time on this nonsense instead. Loser.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 17, 2023 6:52 pm

Image over substance, Rud. Image over substance.

September 17, 2023 11:06 am

I never expected an oil company to warn me about climate change; why on earth would I?

Greens are the awkward squad, nothing is too fantastical for them

September 17, 2023 11:06 am

Agnotology is the study of ignorance and how it’s produced. Just point on the consensus of the 196 or 197. Case “won”. They could start with the following article.

New Surface Stations Report Released – It’s ‘worse than we thought’ • Watts Up With That?

And then go on to Willie Soon´s latest paper. Lets talk about UHI. The list is long. One question do comes to mind, what have you done as a state to reduce UHI through human ingenuity and engieneering?

Reply to  MB1978
September 17, 2023 11:09 am

So, Michael Mann, professor of ignorance at Penn State, is an agnotologist

Reply to  strativarius
September 17, 2023 11:23 am

If the theory about institutional sclerosis presented by Mancur Olsen in 1984 based on MMs rent-seeking behaviour + publishing free-rider “solutions” means that these two 1+1 = “agnotologist” you “can in theory say so.

Reply to  MB1978
September 17, 2023 12:19 pm

Great man, Olsen. There are some observations which explain a great deal about present society and social movements.

One is Olsen’s observation that an interest group often sees it as being in its interest or that of its members to secure a gain for them, even if this results in a loss for the country as a whole.

A second is Olsen’s explanation, which you allude to, of why it is that politically unstable areas often have grown their economies more rapidly than stable ones. The American South, France in the 19c. The explanation he gave was that prolonged stability led to the entrenchment of special privileges, whereas instability, defeat or revolution forced reconstruction from scratch of the social and business environment, with all those privileges abolished.

A third is Turchin’s explanation of instability as caused by over production of elites. Explains cyclical political crises. And among other things, explains why student radicals exist in some periods not others, and why they are so destructive.

Its quite interesting to look at the current activist movements on climate, race and gender as social phenomena in the light of these three things. Most of their actions are clearly not going to achieve anything on what the activists claim to be concerned about. But if you consider their actions and demand from the above perspective, you see that they are fairly natural outflows of having a surplus of elites whose interests are indeed in line with Olsen’s observations.

Reply to  michel
September 17, 2023 12:54 pm

Taken in consideration that his point with the concept IS was, that it made lobbying easier and cheaper, it fits quite well when it comes to the three movements, climate, race and gender.

Especialy the “97%” consensus in climate-science could also be defined under the theory about “groupthink” by Irving L Janis, published two years before MO´s book.

Janis defined groupthink as a mode of thinking people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action. Beside MMs hockey-stick, you could also use what James Lovelock said, if I haven´t “extrapolated to far” my book(s) wouldn´t have sold. Well, no poop, Sherlock.

September 17, 2023 11:09 am

Keep in mind Exxon ISS a huge beneficiary of climate alarmism. Coal has been replaced with natural gas and the intermittent renewables are backed up with natural gas.

Why are climate alarmists driving so much business there way?

September 17, 2023 11:19 am

I was taking a quick look through the PDF (135 pages).
Lots of GW doom and gloom. Their models are IPCC RCP8.5.


Russell Cook
Reply to  Cam_S
September 17, 2023 2:00 pm

Gov Newsom and the CA AG office are crossing their fingers that nobody either fact-checks this lawsuit, either on it’s ‘science’ assertions or its ‘evidence’ that Big Oil ran disinformation campaigns. Just like nearly all of the other 28 current “Exxon Knew”-style lawsuits I’ve compiled in my list, this latest one is enslaved to what I facetiously term as ye olde “victory will be achieved” memos (from the American Petroleum Institute circa 1998) for its claim that ‘Big Oil’ misled the public on what it knew. Read through that old memo set (fully legible pages are under the “Memo Follows” subheading here) and you won’t find a sinister thing in them, they’re merely a set of truisms on what would be accomplished if the public became fully aware of all the science. It’s just that simple, and it’s easy to mirror-flip what’s supposed to be incriminating in that set into a bunch of assertions that Greenpeace would happily endorse. The whole effort by API was never implemented in any form, it was all done initially to react to the remote possibility that the U.S. Senate might ratify the Kyoto Treaty, and when that possibly obviously was not going to happen, API dropped the entire consideration – former COO of API William O’Keefe elaborated further in my April 2021 interview of him. That “victory will be achieved” memo set is worthless to serve as evidence that any fossil fuel industry ran disinformation campaigns to deceive the public about the harm of CAGW, Gov Newsom and AG Bonta just didn’t bother to be certain if it actually had any merit to it or not.

There’s considerably more wrong with the political accusations within this latest lawsuit, key items repeated in this one point to who’s been pushing the “crooked skeptic climate scientists” accusation for years. Stay tuned for those details at my blog.

Reply to  Russell Cook
September 17, 2023 4:58 pm

Thank you for your efforts on this over the years.

David Dibbell
September 17, 2023 11:24 am

This is another occasion to say that Exxon SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER in the 1980’s than to take the claims about CO2 warming on face value. Brunt and Simpson, in their comments on Guy Callendar’s paper in 1938, explain why attribution of reported warming to rising CO2 concentrations should be questioned.

More here. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2023/04/02/open-thread-52/#comment-3703255

And now we have high resolution, near-real-time evidence from space to make it even more obvious why Brunt and Simpson were right to challenge the claimed attribution.

September 17, 2023 12:04 pm

wake me when the State of California has parked all vehicles, grounded all State aircraft and docked all State watercraft which use petroleum derived fuels. Continuing their operation would mean the State of California is willfully using Exxon’s products resulting in increased CO2 in the atmosphere
irony in the stupid state.

Reply to  czechlist
September 17, 2023 2:54 pm

The State of California “knew™”… but did absolutely nothing to curtail its use of fossil fuels.

They should be suing themselves.

Reply to  bnice2000
September 17, 2023 2:57 pm

In fact, if you look at road and highway development since the 1970s in SoC…

…. you will see that they actively encouraged the massive use of fossil fuels.

September 17, 2023 12:18 pm

The environmentalists are the one that wanted fossil fuels used, instead of nuclear, and kept the nuclear industry from building new plants here in the US.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 17, 2023 12:33 pm

Clearly Exxon had in the 1950s world-class genius scientists who knew long before academia about global warming issues. What was academia doing at the time? Twiddling their thumbs?

Rewriting history. Favorite pastime of the left.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
September 17, 2023 1:55 pm

From the 1970’s to the early-1980’s, the world’s top climatologists were most concerned over global cooling, not global warming. This fact is confirmed by examining the preponderance of scientific publications and popular press articles and even made-for-TV-programs* of that time period.

*The classic example from this interval of “climate change” craziness was the alarmist video “in Search of the Coming Ice Age” (1978), featuring Leonard Nimoy, the actor then well-known for having played the role of Mr. Spock in the original TV series Star Trek. For real hoot, you can revisit that 22 minute-long video at this link:

I’m have no doubt that Exxon (scientists) knew . . . about this video.

son of mulder
September 17, 2023 1:39 pm

How can anyone know the outcome of a chaotic system? I rest my case m’lud.

Doug S
Reply to  son of mulder
September 18, 2023 6:49 am

Good point son but they “believe”. No need to “know”.

September 17, 2023 1:40 pm

In 1921, the California Legislature created the first tidelands oil and gas leasing program. Between 1921 and 1929, approximately 100 permits and leases were issued and over 850 wells were drilled in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
— reference: https://www.slc.ca.gov/oil-gas/

“During the 1970s, the greenhouse effect became a major topic in many overlapping fields. Scientists eventually determined that a bit over half of the effect of humans on climate change is due to emissions of CO2 (mainly from fossil fuels but also from deforestation and cement manufacture). The rest of the effect is due to methane and other gases emitted by human activities; atmospheric pollution by smoke and dust; and changes in land use such as replacing dark forest with sunlight-reflecting crops or desert.”

Therefore, the State of California knew or should have known since 1980 or before that their leasing of lands to commercial businesses, such as Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron and the many oil exploration/production companies contracting with them, was directly causing damage to the environment and thus to humans because it enabled the use of fossil fuels that led to human emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere.

This means that the citizens of the State of California, indeed all citizens of the USA, should file class action suit against the State of California for the “immeasurable harm” they have caused from then up to the present by continuing said leasing of lands and the permitting of oil and gas production from such lands that were/are under their control. 😉

The damages sought for the State’s misfeasance and malfeasance in this matter, conveniently titled “California Knew”, should amount to many times that sought in the lawsuit discussed in the above article.

After all, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Erik Magnuson
September 17, 2023 2:06 pm

Eric, Leonard Nimoy’s character on Star Trek was Mister Spock. Doctor Spock was a well know pediatrician – my kids’ pediatrician took part in his memorial.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
September 17, 2023 7:02 pm

IRRC, Dr. Spock ultimately admitted his advice was bogus. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters’ interactions are infinitely more complex than some shrink can know.

September 17, 2023 3:49 pm

If Big Oil knew….does Big Solar/Wind now know?….that this whole subject is a giant farce?

September 17, 2023 4:00 pm

I would love to see the oil company lawyers present this on the first day in court:

“Your Honor, the Defendants acknowledge certain points of the lawsuit. Until such time as further fact finding can occur, and to prevent any further damage to the residents of the State of California, as of midnight tonight, all Defendants will cease providing any fossil fuel derived product to the State of California for the foreseeable future. Thank you.”

Mike McMillan
Reply to  62empirical
September 17, 2023 6:49 pm

Based on allegations in the lawsuit, the judge should immediately issue an injunction prohibiting the defendants from engaging in further damaging behavior.

Precautionary Principle, you know.

September 17, 2023 4:00 pm

More hacktivist political lawyering clogging up the Courts-
Minister faces court action over climate harms (msn.com)

September 17, 2023 4:14 pm

As I posted in the Indiapolis Star thread:


September 17, 2023 4:16 pm

As I posted in the Indianapolis Star thread:
>> Climate change is a fact
Well.. I see another skeptic falling for word games!
This not the question, but how much of the global warming is caused by humans.
Googling for an image with “Scafetta, climate sensitivity” tells you all you need to know about “facts”! If the global warming contribution was known, this would show two flat lines!
Oh, and the biggest change from CMIP5 to CMIP6 is not even on that graph! Since then we know as a fact (!!) That CMIP5 and older did not get the clouds right!

4 Eyes
September 17, 2023 4:30 pm

Oil companies do not sell CO2, they sell hydrocarbons. The residents of California are the ones who produce CO2 and they clearly love doing so judging by the 4 lane parking lots that fill up every day. The sanctimonious govt of California should sue the residents of California because everyone has known about CAGW all these years. Er…sue themselves? Yes, why not?

general custer
September 17, 2023 5:06 pm

Can someone compose an intelligent rebuttal to this?

Reply to  general custer
September 17, 2023 6:14 pm

The first experiment has nothing to do with the agw theory. If CO2 is contained and heat is applied to the confined gas, it will warm. Gasses tend to do that.

Reply to  general custer
September 17, 2023 7:56 pm

Just from looking, neither of the experiments even remotely resembles the atmosphere.

Also, when an expanding gas is released from a tank, it can absorb energy from its surroundings.

Neither experiment proves anything about the actions of trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 12:53 am

Notice the massive leap of faith and don’t whatever you do mention clouds of water vapour-

How can CO2 trap so much heat if it only makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere? Aren’t the molecules spaced too far apart?Before humans began burning fossil fuels, naturally occurring greenhouse gases helped to make Earth’s climate habitable. Without them, the planet’s average temperature would be below freezing. So we know that even very low, natural levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases can make a huge difference in Earth’s climate.

Reply to  observa
September 18, 2023 10:06 am

When a CO2 molecule of CO2 traps a photon, it transfers that energy to other molecules in the environment and it is then ready to trap another photon.
As to there not being a lot in a single cubic meter, there are a lot of cubic meters in the atmosphere.

Reply to  MarkW
September 18, 2023 2:46 pm

And the old Avogadro’s number, 6.02 x 10^23 molecules in 22.4 liters (a jerry can in size) multiplied by 400 parts/ million is still 2.4 x 10^20…which is still a lot of CO2 molecules in that jerry can. Figure out how far apart those molecules are on average. What distance a photon of the right frequency has to travel before hitting one is the key…

Reply to  general custer
September 18, 2023 2:34 pm

It’s a long article full of 3/4 to 7/8 truths and even some complete truths. An intelligent rebuttal takes a few courses or long self study in atmospheric radiative heat transfer, thermodynamics, meteorology, and so on.
The heated bottles with CO2 inside one of them will likely result in one of the bottles being warmer…but it won’t be due to CO2…much more likely to do with one of the heat lamps being closer to the glass…or a draft in the room affecting one jar more than the other. There just isn’t a long enough beam length in a bottle full of CO2 compared to air with 400 ppm CO2 to make any more than a couple of hundredths of a degree temperature difference with the very very heat leaky apparatus that such experiments usually try to impress the gullible with.
I kind of like the thermal image and candle experiment….but a meter long tube of CO2 is about the same as the total molecular cross section of CO2 in the entire atmosphere from surface to outer space….so if anything, the experiment shows how much heat escapes to outer space rather than absorbed by CO2….

September 17, 2023 5:16 pm

I love how they constantly attempt to rewrite history.
Scientific American audaciously tried to dismiss the great cooling scare as merely nine paragraphs in a single 1975 Time article. Meanwhile, some internet rando (me) managed to destroy that claim in a single tweet.


Overall, I generally find the case for cooling made in that In Search Of episode more compelling than any theory involving catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. In my opinion, a worldwide cooling phase is much more likely and should be a much greater cause for concern going forward.

Russell Cook
Reply to  Brian.
September 17, 2023 7:51 pm

In the 5th paragraph of my 2011 guest post to CEI’s “Cooler Heads Digest,” I essentially noted how I was a skeptic of CAGW in 1988 since the first question I had about CAGW back when Gore / Wirth / Hansen exploded on the scene was “What happened to global cooling?!” The thing that solidifies my skepticism even more comes from how hard the eco-zealots try to bury a news reporting situation that I saw firsthand.

The censor-istas will have to work hard to thwart searches into ancestry.com/newspapers.com where folks can currently skip searching for ancestors’ newspaper obituaries and instead look for articles on the looming dim prospects of a cooling planet.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brian.
September 18, 2023 12:12 pm

I was a subscriber to Scientific American during the 1970’s and they published numerous articles about human-caused global cooling.

I was not skeptical of human-caused global cooling at first. I thought maybe these guys were on to something. But as time went along I noticed that they never provided definitive evidence of anything they were claiming.

And then the 1980’s came along and the temperatures started warming to the point where global cooling was looking very unlikely. So the climate alarmists did a 180 degree turn and started promoting human-caused global warming.

But I had been down this road before with human-caused global cooling, so was doubly skeptical of these new claims, and sure enough, the climate alarmists started presenting speculation and assumptions about human-caused global warming as being established facts.

So I got fed up with them presenting speculation and assumptions as facts, and I tossed their publication. Along with National Geographic and Science News and a few others, and for the very same reason: they were presenting speculation and assumptions as facts. They are still doing it to this day.

The scientific method has been thrown in the toilet when it comes to humans and the Earth’s climate.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 18, 2023 1:55 pm

And then the 1980’s came along and the temperatures started warming “

And yet, UAH shows basically no warming from 1980-1997

UAH before El nino.png
September 17, 2023 9:07 pm

What a nonsensical bunch of corrupt parasites all these woke fools are. Same old game , sue this one sue that one sue our selves, charge Trump here Charge Trump there, investigate him here their everywhere. Oh now they want to see if they can get away with repeating the Covid debacle , and while their at it let’s keep a 1 or 2 proxy wars going and a Cold War too. I grow tired …. Make ‘em stop.

Pat from Kerbob
September 17, 2023 10:06 pm

It’s amazing how this stupidity never goes away.
It’s like bad climate predictions

September 18, 2023 1:10 am

The really interesting thing is what will happen if they win. Because it will set a precedent on which others can act.

Firstly, it will set a precedent for every other state in the US to sue Exxon. They would seem to have excellent chances of success. If the main thing ruled is that Exxon knew of the danger and deliberately misled while creating it, then all the other states are in the same position as California, this conduct was just as damaging to them as to California.

Indeed, since global warming is, well, global, there must be a case for people in other countries to sue.

But, second, it will create a precedent which may apply to other oil companies. The next step would be to claim that another of the majors knew or should have known. The argument from actual knowledge and deception would have to be made for each one separately, but the argument from damage would already have been ruled on. That might be enough. Actually, while you may not in all cases have the argument from deception, that from knowledge must be getting stronger as time passes. At least, that is what you would argue.

Then, consider the case of the coal companies. Did they do it? Did they know? They may not have deceived, but is deception essential to the case? Maybe not.

Consider for that matter Australia, which continues to license and permit the mining and export of coal long after it has arguably basically accepted the CAGW argument. Long after the IPCC has published. Long after the science is settled. The argument from knowledge in the case of Australia the state has to be much stronger than that in the case of Exxon.

Its going to be very interesting indeed if Exxon loses. And yes, injunctions do start to become an interesting possibility. If its ruled Exxon is destroying the planet, the next logical thing to do is compel them to stop doing it…. And all the others, too.

By the way, a very interesting point about the social phenomenon of climatism, look at who is NOT being sued. Why is Peabody not being sued? Why is it only Exxon in the oil majors who seems to attract suits?

Pat Frank
September 18, 2023 7:18 am

I got plenty of insight into the “Exxon Knew” argument, while investigating the provenance of Figure 1 in an accusatory 2023 Oreskes-Rahmstorf Science paper.

After reading much of their Exxon documentation, the long story short diagnosis is that Exxon didn’t know and could not have known.

A WUWT post told the story. What I learned about what Exxon Knew. Now also available as an updated pdf on ResearchGate.

Exxon’s internal documentation is very clear. Not only did they not know, but they made an ethically admirable attempt to find out.

Exxon Knew is a pure hatchet job, carried out by mean-minded hardhearted character assassins.

Any good lawyer should have a field day exposing their possibly criminal defamation. One can only hope that Gavin Newsom ends up looking the fool.

And Figure 1 in Oreskes-Rahmstorf 2023 is almost certainly manufactured.

Reply to  Pat Frank
September 19, 2023 2:06 am

Excellent piece of research into the origins of Fig 1. The whole argument of the paper is also very good, obviously correct.

AGW is Not Science
September 18, 2023 7:26 am

They need to start fighting this bullshit at every level.

Demand PROOF that “greenhouse gases” drive the Earth’s temperature.

Demand PROOF that the “weather” is getting worse.

Demand PROOF that a warming climate has been the cause of any supposed change in the weather.

There IS NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE to support any of this.

They need to STOP allowing the “climate change(TM)” crap from being accepted as if it were factual, it is not. And should never be a stipulation in a court case, especially this kind of lawfare/malicious prosecution based on hypothetical bullshit.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
September 18, 2023 12:24 pm

“Demand PROOF that “greenhouse gases” drive the Earth’s temperature.”

That’s the first thing I would do, if I were their lawyer.

I would be happy to stand there and say: No, judge, that’s not proof, that is speculation. And would do that for every point the prosecutors would use as proof CO2 warming is real and harmful. I could do that because nothing they can present is evidence of anything. I would point that out to the judge.

A sensible judge would have to agree that all the evidence presented for CO2 warming is speculation and assumptions. Not one definitive proof, judge. Not one. It’s all conjecture.

If they can’t prove CO2 is doing what they claim it is doing in the atmoshere, and they can’t, then they also cannot claim that CO2 is causing any damage to anything.

A little logic would go a long way here.

The prosecutors have no evidence.

A non-political judge would see it right from the start of the case.

William Howard
September 18, 2023 7:37 am

 immediately cease supplying their “catastrophic” product – that is exactly what the oil & gas companies should do – reminds me of all the virtue signaling sanctuary cities that started screaming no mas once the illegals started showing up –

September 18, 2023 8:05 am

This was featured in my “news” feed on LinkedIn today. A couple people talking sense but a tremendous amount of ignorance on display.


Dennis Gerald Sandberg
September 18, 2023 8:56 am

Sue and Settle. We’ve seen this before, corrupt criminal activity by the as always same political party.

September 18, 2023 10:46 am

Another lawfare doomed to fail. How many of these must courts go through before they realize there’s no evidence to support a case?

September 18, 2023 11:49 am

This lawsuit is basically a copy of the tobacco lawsuits: file suit claiming massive public damages, but don’t put them out of business, instead force huge monetary settlements to raise even more revenue for the states. Squeeze the golden goose as hard as possible, but don’t kill it. This is all about the $$$.

Mike Maguire
September 18, 2023 7:08 pm

So, they knew that life on our massively greening planet would be experiencing the current climate optimum from the increase in CO2? (which is still just half the optimal level for most life)
Farmers should be outraged because they weren’t prepared with enough storage for the record breaking crops (-:

The increase in CO2 has been humanities biggest gift to our planet by a wide margin.

In an honest, just world the major sources of beneficial CO2 would be getting a Nobel Prize for greening up the planet and massively increasing food production!

Based on AUTHENTIC science, as beneficial CO2 continues to increase, the planet will get greener and greener as most life loves it!


September 20, 2023 9:48 am

was only a narrow window of time

Indeed, and when was the last time to do anything about it?
Now it’s too late, boo boo

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