US Government Knew Climate Risks in 1970s, National Petroleum Council Documents Show
Date Written: 19/03/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23572
Newly discovered documents show that the fossil fuel industry has know since the 1970s the effect that CO2 emissions would have on the environment.
"These documents reaffirm that, to one extent or another, the fossil fuel industry as a whole has known for decades about the basics of climate change and its implications. But rather than warning the public and taking action, many of them turned around and orchestrated anti-science, anti-policy denial campaigns dwarfing even those of Big Tobacco," said Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard who has extensively studied those denial campaigns....
One of the newly uncovered documents obtained by Climate Liability News was prepared by the energy division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and presented in 1982.... "The world's remaining recoverable resources of oil, gas, and coal are estimated to contain nearly 4,000 billion metric tons of carbon," the report said. "This is enough, if burned and if half of the emitted carbon dioxide remains airborne, to increase the concentration of CO2 in the earths atmosphere by nearly a factor of four. That is almost certainly too much."
These documents show not only how widespread the knowledge of climate impacts was decades ago, but also how deeply the subject was studied. The research delved into the overall impact of climate change on the planet, but also sought to understand which places would be hit the hardest.