Exxon Knew

This page features the top documents that the Climate Investigations Center believes lawyers, government officials, journalists, and the public must read to understand the unfolding #ExxonKnew investigations underway in several states.

There are three basic phases to this story:

  1. What Exxon knew and when they knew it
  2. What Exxon did to block rising concern about climate change
  3. What Exxon would like to hide from investigators now


 

1970 Imperial Oil report, “Pollution Is Everybody’s Business”

Details found in a 1970 report, “Pollution Is Everybody’s Business,” authored by H.R. Holland, a Chemical Engineer responsible for environmental protection in Imperial Oil’s engineering division, suggests Exxon was aware as early as the late 1960s that global emissions of CO2 from combustion was a chief pollution concern affecting global ecology. Holland wrote: “Since pollution means disaster to the […]

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Imperial Oil’s 1980 Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979

A 1980 report, “Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979,” produced by Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, again suggests that Exxon knew that CO2 was a harmful pollutant in the atmosphere in the 1970s. Lines in the document include: “It is assumed that the major contributors of CO2 are the burning of fossil fuels… There is no doubt […]

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1981 Exxon Memo on Possible Emission Consequences of Fossil Fuel Consumption

August 18, 1981 memo from Exxon’s Roger Cohen to Exxon’s Werner Glass with comments about Glass’ draft report on possible consequences of fossil fuel consumption out to 2030. Cohen writes that it is very likely “we will unambiguously recognize the threat by the year 2000 because of advances in climate modeling and the beginning of real […]

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1982 Letter Cutting Back Exxon CO2 Greenhouse Project

Letter from Roger W. Cohen, Director of Exxon’s Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences to Peter Kimon, Exxon International Tanker Division canceling work of the CO2 Greenhouse Project on tanker “s/s Esso Atlantic” dated July 14, 1982.

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August 24, 1982 Exxon Presentation on “CO2 Greenhouse Effect” and Exxon Climate Modeling

Copy of a presentation by scientist Andrew Callegari regarding “CO2 Greenhouse Effect” and Exxon climate modeling at an August 24, 1982 meeting. Presentation predicts a change in climate and that the “first effects predicted by year 2000.”

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May 7, 1985 Memorandum and Handout for Meeting with Lee Raymond and Exxon Corporate Research

Exxon Memorandum dated May 7, 1985 with attached handout for a meeting with Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and Managers of Exxon’s Corporate Research Program which includes a section on Exxon’s research into the ‘CO2 Greenhouse’ effect.

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Global Climate Coalition Draft Climate Change Science Primer 1995

A draft primer on climate change dated December 1995 after the IPCC 2nd assessment, acknowledging the scientific consensus, and explaining how uncertainty could still be stated.

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1996 Exxon Publication: “Global Warming: who’s right?”

Exxon Corporation’s Spring 1996 Publication, “Global warming: who’s right? Facts about a debate that’s turned up more questions than answers,” includes a statement by then Exxon CEO Lee Raymond trumping up uncertainty in the science behind global warming as well as the cost of a carbon-restricted market. The publication cites to Exxon funded climate change […]

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1996 Exxon’s Lee Raymond “Climate change: don’t ignore the facts”

In the fall of 1996, Lee R. Raymond Chairman, Exxon Corporation, had an article published in the oil company’s publication, The Lamp. The title of the article was, “Climate change: don’t ignore the facts.” Raymond wrote, “Proponents of the global warming theory say that higher levels of greenhouse gases — especially carbon dioxide — are causing […]

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October 13, 1997 Exxon’s Lee Raymond Speech at World Petroleum Congress

October 13, 1997, Exxon Corporation’s Lee Raymond, chairman and CEO, spoke at the World Petroleum Congress in Beijing, China. Lee Raymond was speaking two months in advance of the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3), in Kyoto, Japan. Lee Raymond said that there are parties asking for binding agreements to cut the use of […]

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1998 American Petroleum Institute Global Climate Science Communications Team Action Plan

April 3, 1998, American Petroleum Institute’s secret plan was launched – the Global Climate Science Communications Team. The plan was created the year after the Kyoto Protocol was signed. It was developed by representatives from Exxon, specifically Randy Randol. The plan includes a multimillion dollar, multi-year budget to install “uncertainty” in the public policy arena.  Target audiences […]

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1998 ExxonMobil Pamphlet: Global Climate Change Everyone’s Debate

This pamphlet, circulated to both U.S. and international policy-makers questions whether climate change is man-made and if so, the extent of contribution of fossil fuels to the problem. Although statements in this pamphlet are partially true in that Exxon “carefully studied” the science behind climate change, it contradicts its own internal findings with early climate […]

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ExxonMobil Lobbyist Randy Randol 2001 Memorandum to White House on IPCC team

This fax and memorandum dated February 6, 2001 from Exxon lobbyist Randy Randol to John Howard at the White House Center for Environmental Quality makes recommendations for changing the U.S. team working on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment and Synthesis Report and delaying IPCC proceedings.

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Invitation for “Strategic Discussion Regarding the Clean Air Act” Sponsored by Heartland Institute 2006

This memo outlines an invitation from the Heartland Institute to discuss “public policy challenges related to the Clean Air Act.”

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2015 Bernie Sanders letter urging DOJ to investigate Exxon

This 2015 document is a letter from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Sanders details his concerns that ExxonMobil has been committing corporate fraud through its misinformation campaign related to climate change. In the letter, Sanders “respectfully request[s] the Department of Justice investigate [the] allegations,” that Exxon scientists knew that climate […]

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