Climate Change



- Complaints -

Puerto Rico




New Jersey

Oakland/San Francisco


III. Culpability

- Timeline -

Inside Exxon's Strategy to Downplay Climate Change

September 14, 2023

Wall Street Journal

Internal documents show what the oil giant said publicly was very different from how it approached the issue privately. Click here

Big oil quietly walks back on climate pledges as global heat records tumble

July 16, 2023

The Guardian

It was probably the Earth’s hottest week in history earlier this month, following the warmest June on record, and top scientists agree that the planet will get even hotter unless we phase out fossil fuels. Yet leading energy companies are intent on pushing the world in the opposite direction, expanding fossil fuel production and insisting that there is no alternative. Click here

Climate movement: right answers, wrong words

July 14, 2023

The Guardian

The fossil fuel industry has spent billions on winning over the public. You may think we have all the proof we need. More of it is in front of us right now, with heatwaves scorching through Europe, breaking records, wreaking havoc. In Athens, they closed the Acropolis on Friday as temperatures at the site headed towards 48C. In Lisbon, visitors expecting perfect blue skies have been disappointed to find them streaked with grey – not clouds, but smoke from forest fires. In Italy, there was no spring this year: floods gave way to unbearable heat with barely a pause. Click here

Shell boss under fire for saying cutting fossil fuel production is ‘dangerous’

July 6, 2023

Jillian Ambrose Energy Correspondent

Climate campaigners have condemned as “cynical” suggestions by the boss of the energy company Shell that cutting the world’s oil and gas production would be dangerous and irresponsible. Wael Sawan claimed in an interview that reducing fossil fuel production, which is considered crucial in limiting the rise in global temperatures, risked worsening the cost of living crisis by limiting global energy supplies and pushing up bills. Click here

- Smoking Guns -

Part 2: The Dirty Dozen Documents of Big Oil’s Secret Climate Knowledge

November 2021

P. Thacker

By the late 1970s, the petroleum industry had spent about two decades collecting information from their own scientists and outside experts and knew that burning fossil fuels would create catastrophic climate change. In the minds of the fossil fuel executives, this point must have been hammered home when federal scientists published a report on carbon dioxide and climate change in 1979. Stanford science historian Ben Franta continues his discussion of these key documents, what they say, how they were found, and what this means for the fossil fuel industry. Click here

In Their Own Words: The Dirty Dozen Documents of Big Oil’s Secret Climate Knowledge.

October 2021

P. Thacker

Science historian Ben Franta unpacks some of the most critical documents exposing what the fossil fuel industry knew and when they knew it. To explain the long history of what the fossil fuel industry knew and when they knew it, Stanford University science historian Ben Franta has collected a dozen of his favorite documents. Click here

Understanding the #ExxonKnew controversy.

February 2021


#ExxonKnew is an orchestrated campaign that seeks to delegitimize ExxonMobil by misrepresenting our position on climate change and related research to the public. For the past several years, activist organizations have sought to bring investigations, shareholder action, legal action and protests against ExxonMobil despite the fact that ExxonMobil is committed and actively working to reduce the risks posed by climate change. Click here

The smoking gun: what the fossil fuel industry knew (and when it knew it).

November 2020

T. Groening (The Island Institute)

The smoking gun on climate change is, well, the smoke. Or at least carbon pollution. But the real smoking gun, said activists from the Center for Climate Integrity and Union of Concerned Scientists, ist hat the fossil fuel industry knew what impacts carbon pollution would have on the climate. And beyond casting blame, these groups are taking action against that industry. Click here

Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings

September 19, 2018

B. Franta

In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internalassessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecastthe planetary consequences of these emissions. Click here

What 30 Years of Documents Show Shell Knew About Climate Science)

May 17, 2018

M. Small, C. Farand

There can be no mistake: as early as 1981, big oil company Shell was aware of the causes and dangers of climate change. These documents show Shell walking backwards. In the 1980s it was acknowledging anthropogenic global warming. Click here

2017 Climate change and energy American Petroleum Institute (API) report.

May 2017

America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry

In the United States, oil and natural gas supply 66 percent of the energy Americans use today, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that these fuels will continue to furnish more than 66 percent of the energy we use through 2040 and beyond. Click here

Timeline - Truth or CO2nsequences.


Major fossil fuel companies have known the truth for nearly 50 years: their oil, gas, and coal products create greenhouse gas pollution that warms the planet and changes our climate. This timeline highlights information, alleged in lawsuits against fossil fuel companies, that comes from key industry documents and other sources. It illustrates what the industry knew, when they knew it, and what they didn’t do to prevent the impacts that are now imposing real costs on people and communities around the country. Click here

2007 Smoke, mirrors & hot air. How ExxonMobil uses big tobacco’s tactics to manufacture uncertainty on climate science.

January 2007

S. Schulman (Union of Concerned Scientists)

In an effort to deceive the public about the reality of global warming, ExxonMobil has underwritten the most sophisticated and most successful disinformation campaign since the tobacco industry misled the public about the scientific evidence linking smoking to lung cancer and heart disease. As this report documents, the two disinformation campaigns are strikingly similar. ExxonMobil has drawn upon the tactics and even some of the organizations and actors involved in the callous disinformation campaign the tobacco industry waged for 40 years. Click here

2002 Letter from Michael McCracken, retiring senior scientist from the office of the us global change research program, to Exxon CEO Lee Raymond.

September 2002

M. MacCracken

A response letter from Michael MacCracken to the Chairman and Chief Executive of ExxonMobile Cop. Accusing them of turning their back on the future.” Click here

2001 Memo from Ken Brill to Under Secretary Paulua Dobriansky regarding her meeting with members of the Global Climate Coalition, US Department of State memo and talking points memo.

June 2001

K. Brill (U.S. Dept of State)

Click here

2000 Letter from Lloyd Keigwin, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to Peter Altman, National Campaign Coordinator for ExxonMobil.

December 2000

In a letter from Lloyd Keigwin, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to the National Campaign Coordinator of ExxonMobile accusing ExxonMobil of misleading in its use of the Sargasso Sea data. Click here

1998 Global science communications action plan, draft by the American Petroleum Institute (APL).


Joe Walker (Global Climate Science)

Here is a copy of The Global Science Action Plan from the American Petroleum Institute. Click here

Fall 1996 “Global warming who’s right facts about a debate that’s turned up more questions than answers,” publication from Exxon corporation.

Fall 1996

L. Raymond, Chairman, Exxon Corporation

According to Lee Raymond, Chairman, Exxon Corporation “Achieving economic growth remains one of the world’s critical needs., and with good reason. When economies grow, their energy consumption rises. Today, however, a multination effort, under the auspices of the United Nations, is under way to cut the use of fossil fuels, based on the unproven theory that they affect the earth’s climate.” Click here

Oct. 1995 “Is climate change occurring already” Internal Report by shell international B.V. Scientist Peter Langcake.

October 1995

P. Langcake, Shell International The Hague

According to this Shell internal report, “the best evidence to-date suggests that global mean temperature changes over the last century are unlikely to be entirely due to natural causes and that a pattern of climate response to human activities is identifiable in observed climate records.” Click here

Climate change - your passport to the facts,” Global Climate Coalition (GCC) booklet.


N. Sundt, Climate Change Science Expert (Global Climate Coalition)

This booklet was “intended to introduce readers to essential facts about climate change.” The publication discredited climate change science and its correlation to human activities, citing work by climate deniers Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen. It also downplayed the potential consequences of increasing carbon emissions and dismissed the need for policy action to address the issues, arguing that, “no evidence exists to compel nations to make additional commitments to emissions reductions for the post-2000 period.” Click here

Dec. 1994 “The enhanced greenhouse effect a review of the scientific aspects,” report by royal dutch shell environmental advisor Peter Langcake”.

December 1994

P. Langcake, Shell International Petroleum The Hague

“Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing substantially, due to human activities.” “It is thus not possible to dismiss the global warming hypothesis as scientifically unsound; on the other hand any policy measure should take into account explicitly the weaknesses in the scientific case.” Click here

April 1994 “Issues and options potential global climate change,” Global Climate Coalition (GCC) report.

April 1994

By the Global Climate Coalition

Over the past century atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, espe­cially carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and chlorofluorocarbons, have increased. The international debate concerns the role of human activities in these increases and the risk that continued human-related emissions will lead to global warming and other climate changes. Click here

December 1989 “Greenhouse effect shell anticipates a sea change,” New York Times.

December 1989

New York Times

Whether global warming will raise the level of the world’s oceans is still being debated but engineers who build natural-gas production platforms as Shell Oil do not want to take chances. In what is considered the first major project that takes account of the changed the greenhouse effect is expected to bring, the engineers are designing a huge platform that anticipates rising water in the North Sea. Click here

Shell Group Planning Scenarios 1989-2010.

October 1989

Shell Group Planning

Portions of an internal Shell document highlighting Shell’s hidden legacy of climate change accountability. Click here

1988 Summer 1988 public awareness of the greenhouse effect and efforts to combat it ramp up.


Chemical Manufacturers Association Side-by-Side analysis of Legislation Related to the Remediation of the Greenhouse Effect (100th Congress) Click here

1988 May 1988 “The greenhouse effect,” report by the shell greenhouse effect working group.

May 1988

Shell International Petroleum The Hague

Man-made carbon dioxide, released into and accumulated in the atmosphere, is believed to warm the earth through the so-called greenhouse effect. The gas acts like the transparent walls of a greenhouse and traps heat in the atmosphere that would normally be radiated back into space. Mainly due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation, the atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased some 15% in the present century to a level of about 340 ppm. If this trend continues, the concentration will be doubled by the third quarter of the next century. There is reasonable scientific agreement that increased levels of greenhouse gases would cause a global warming. The likely time scale of possible change does not necessitate immediate remedial action. Click here

1988 Aug. 31, Vice president George H.W. Bush campaign speech in Michigan. May 1988

May 1988

New York Times

The world has started to take a very seriously the established threat to the life-protecting ozone layer from industrial chemicals. Many countries re now eager for President Bush to take the lead on another threat to the global climate the feared warming of the earth’s atmosphere by pollutant gases. But despite Mr. Bush’s ringing campaign pledge to do just taht, his administration flounders in confusion and timidity. Click here

Aug. 3, 1988 “The greenhouse effect,” draft written by Joseph M. Carlson, an Exxon public affairs manager.

August 1988

J. Carlson

There is scientific agreement on two points: Atmospheric CO2 is increasing and could double in 100 years. And fossil fuels contribute about five billion tons/year of CO2. Click here

Oct. 1982 “Inventing the future energy and the co2 ‘greenhouse’ effect,” e. E. David jr. Remarks at the Fourth Annual Ewing Symposium, Tenafly, NJ.

October 1982

Dr. E. David, Jr. President, Exxon Research and Engineering

“While we do not know with certainty how things will turn out, our own actions can play a powerful role in shaping the future.” Click here

April 1, 1982 “Co2 ‘greenhouse’ effect,” internally distributed summary by Exxon manager M.B. Glaser of a technical review prepared by the Exxon research and engineering company.

November 1982

M.B. Glaser, Exxon Research

Distribution of the briefing material regarding the CO2 Greenhouse effect to Exxon staff. Click here

Aug. 18, 1981 Memo from Roger Cohen, director of Exxon’s theoretical and mathematical science laboratory, to scientist Werner Glass.

August 1981

R.W. Cohen

“…I can agree with the statement that our best guess is that observable effects in the year 2030 are likely to be "well short of catastrophic", it is distinctly possible that the CPD scenario will later produce effects which will indeed be catastrophic (at least for a substantial fraction of the earth's population). Click here

Feb. 29, 1980 Meeting minutes from the American petroleum institute’s (API’s) CO2 and climate task force presentation by dr. J. Laurman.

March 1980

J. J. Nelson, American Petroleum Institute

“The difficulties of dealing with the pragmatic questions related to the CO2/fossil fuel problem all relate to certain general features, A) high impact cost, B) large uncertainty, and being C) far distant and D) global.” Click here

Aug. 6, 1980 “Review of environmental protection activities for 1978-1979,”

Imperial Oil Report.

August 1980

A copy of the Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979 of Imperial Oil Limited. Click here

Oct. 16, 1979 “Controlling the co2 concentration in the atmosphere,” study by Exxon employee Steve Knisely.

October 1979

W.L Ferall, Exxon Engineering Petroleum Department

Memorandum presenting the results of a study on the potential impact of fossil fuel combustion on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Click here

Sept. 17, 1978 Congress passes national climate policy act.

September 1978

National Climate Program Act

Copy of the ‘National Climate Program Act. Click here

June 6, 1978 Presentation shared with Exxon management committee from Exxon research and engineering science advisor, James Black.

June 1978

J. F. Black, Exxon Research and Engineering

A copy of the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ as presented to the Exxon Corporation Management Committee. Click here

Dec. 7, 1978 Co2 research proposal from Exxon research and engineering’s environmental area manager, Henry Shaw.

December 1978

H. Shaw, Exxon Research and Engineering Company

Inner Company letter to General Administration (Exxon) highlighting new programs to clarify mechanisms associated with storage of carbon dioxide that would help in predicting the likelihood of a greenhouse effect. Click here

Feb. 1968 “Sources, abundance, and fate of gaseous atmospheric pollutants,” report prepared by Stanford Research Institute scientists Eelmer Robinson and R.C. Robbins for the American Petroleum Institute.

February 1968

E. Robinson, R.C. Robbins (Stanford Research Institute)

“If the earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans and an increase in photosynthesis. Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bing about climatic changes.” Click here

Restoring the quality of our environment report of the environmental pollution panel president’s science advisory committee.

November 1965

From the Environmental Pollution Panels President’s Science Advisory Committee, The White House. Click here

Meeting the challenges of 1966 speech by Frank Ikard president of the American Petroleum Institute at the trade association’s 45th annual meeting.


American Petroleum Institute

Proceedings of the American Petroleum Institute. Annual Minutes, Divisional Reports, Click here

Sources of air pollution transportation presentation at the National Conference on Air Pollution by Charles Jones Shell Executive Member of the American Petroleum Institute’s Smoke & Fumes Committee.

November 1958

C. A. Jones, Executive Secretary, American Petroleum Institute

“Since the major source of pollution from transportation is the exhaust of gasoline-powered automobile, my remarks di will be confined to a study of this problem.” “the petroleum industry supplies the fuel used by the automobile, and thus has a sincere interest in the solution to the problem of pollution from automobile exhaust.” Click here

- Additional Articles-

Extreme weather killed 195,000 in Europe since 1980

June 2023

Phys Org

Extreme weather conditions in Europe have killed almost 195,000 people and caused economic losses of more than 560 billion euros since 1980, the European Environment Agency said Wednesday. "Nearly 195,000 fatalities have been caused by floods, storms, heat- and coldwaves, forest fires and landslides" between 1980 and 2021, the EAA said in its report. Click here

Exxon predicted global warming with remarkable accuracy years ago, study shows.

January 2023

C. Clifford (CNBC)

Three academics from Harvard and the University of Potsdam in Germany published a study in the journal Science on providing evidence that Exxon Mobil, the oil and gas behemoth with a current market capitalization of $466 billion, predicted global warming with incredible accuracy in a series of internal reports and messages starting in the 1970s. “Specifically, what’s new here is that we put a number on – and paint a picture of – what Exxon knew and when,” said study co-author Geoffrey Supran, who worked as a research associate at Harvard when he did this work. Click here

Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections.

January 2023

G. Supran (

In 2017, Exxon’s internal documents, as well as peer-reviewed studies published by Exxon and ExxonMobil Corp scientists, over whelmingly acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused. By contrast, the majority of Mobil and ExxonMobil Corp’s public communications promoted doubt on the matter. Click here

Fossil Fuel Companies Make Billions in Profit as We Suffer Billions in Losses - Union of Concerned Scientists.

February 2023

S. Sadai (Union of Concerned Scientists)

The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies recently released their 2022 earnings reports, revealing record-breaking profits last year; just five companies–ExxonMobil, Shell, BP,Chevron, and Total Energies–reported a total of nearly $200 billion in profits. At the same time, the world is incurring record losses due to extreme weather events. Click here

Democratic lawmakers accuse big oil companies of ‘greenwashing’.

December 2022

C. Clifford (CNBC)

Democratic representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Ro Khanna letter they sent on Friday (Dec. 9) to the rest of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform with the latest findings from their investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s response to climate change. The committee began its investigation into what it calls a “climate disinformation” campaign in September 2021. Click here

There Are 100 Companies Responsible for Climate Change, Activist Says.

September 2020

Basit Mahood (Newsweek)

Around 100 companies are responsible for climate change and we must act to stop them now in our last chance to save the planet, a climate change activist has warned. The warning comes as global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) restarted large-scale protests in the U.K., saying that it will target the Houses of Parliament as well as other "key institutions of power" in a bid to raise awareness of the climate emergency. Click here

Exxon found not guilty in New York climate-change securities fraud trial, ending 4-year saga.

December 2019

P. Stevens (CNBC)

When he took the stand on Oct. 30, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said that the company tried to understand the impact of climate change and tried to accurately communicate this impact to shareholders. Exxon said the case was misleading and politically motivated and the result of a coordinated effort by anti-fossil fuel groups. Click here

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago.

September 2015

N. Banerjee, L. Song, D. Hasemyer (Inside Climate News)

At a meeting in Exxon Corporation’s headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity. Click here

Public Campaign Against Exxon Has Roots in a 2012 Meeting.

May 2013

J. Schwartz (New York Times)

Highlights of a report that helps explain why those taking on Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies might find the courts a promising battleground. Click here

York Loses Climate Change Fraud Case Against Exxon Mobil.

December 2010

J. Schwartz (New York Times)

A New York state judge on Tuesday handed Exxon Mobil a victory in the civil case brought by the state’s attorney general that argued the company had engaged in fraud through its statements about how it accounted for the costs of climate change regulation. After some four years of investigation and millions of pages of documents produced by the company, the judge said, attorney general Letitia James and her staff “failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence” that Exxon violated the Martin Act, New York’s powerful legal tool against shareholder fraud, in the closely watched case. Click here

Carbon Emissions Linked To Global Warming In Simple Linear Relationship

June 2009

Science Daily

Scientists have found a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Researchers used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show that there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change. Click here