1984 Exxon Presentation by Henry Shaw on CO2 Greenhouse and Climate Issues

This 1984 document is a presentation by Henry Shaw, a manager with Exxon Research & Engineering’s Technology Feasibility center, regarding “CO2 Greenhouse and Climate Issues.” The presentation is one of many documents from Exxon’s history, demonstrating their active research into and knowledge of anthropogenic climate change and its impacts. 

The presentation lists some of the predicted effects of climate change, including “redistribution of rainfall,” “accelerated growth of pests and weeds,” “detrimental health effects,” and “population migration.” Shaw also notes that “A 2 to 3C increase in global average temperature can be amplified to about 10C at the poles. This could cause polar ice melting and a possible sea-level rise of 0.7 meters by 2080.” 

Slide 7 of the presentation includes recommendations on climate issues from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Stanford, among other groups. As reported by Shaw, MIT and Stanford recommended “extreme reduction in fossil fuel use through conservation and alternate technologies using electricity,” and also suggested that “international debate on legislation is needed.” In the same slide, however, Exxon found that “there is adequate time to study the problem. Legislation is premature.” 

Ultimately, Shaw concludes the presentation with the statement that “we can either adapt our civilization to a warmer planet or avoid the problem by sharply curtailing the use of fossil fuels.” 

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