InsideClimate News Story Highlights How Efforts to Undermine Smog Science Set a Framework for Oil Industry Response to Climate Change

For Immediate Release:
June 6, 2016

Today, InsideClimate News released the latest in a series of investigative reports that build on documents from CIEL’s ongoing Smoke And Fumes research into the deep history of oil industry and climate change. The ICN investigation highlights how the oil industry’s early efforts to oppose air pollution regulations beginning in the 1940s set a precedent for their decades-long work to cast doubt on the reality of climate science in an effort to slow or halt regulations.

CIEL’s ongoing research has unearthed hundreds of documents revealing early, and coordinated efforts on the part of the oil industry to undermine science.

“The documents highlighted by today’s InsideClimate News story demonstrate how oil companies deployed industry-funded research together with public statements by industry executives to create an echo chamber, that attacked not only the science but the scientists themselves,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett. “The operating model was to sow uncertainty and doubt among the public even in the face of mounting scientific evidence. It was within this framework, developed in the midst of the Los Angeles smog crisis, that the industry’s cooperation on climate science began in earnest.”

Previous articles based on CIEL’s Smoke and Fumes research have revealed that Exxon and other oil companies were actively engaged in climate research by the 1950s and that oil companies worked with industry-funded scientists, including Stanford Research Institute, to fund alternative theories. They also show how the industry deployed this research to cast doubt on climate science, sow skepticism of environmental regulations, and halt progress on climate science even as they patented technologies that could have dramatically reduced climate impacts.