1989 Exxon Mobil article on “Greenhouse Science”

This 1989 document contains two articles from “Connections,” a yearly publication from Exxon’s Research and Engineering Company. The first article, written by Gord Thomson, Exxon’s VP of Marketing, discuss Exxon’s technology strategy for the future. The article quotes Exxon President Bill Stevens from 1988 stating “a focused effort is underway to enhance the quality image of Exxon products,” signaling Exxon’s efforts to alter public perception throughout the late 80s and early 90s.

The document contains a second article, titled “Greenhouse Science,” written by Brian Flannery, Exxon’s in-house climate expert. Flannery begins by noting that he joined Exxon to study greenhouse effects in 1980. In the article, Flannery explicitly states, “we now know that concentrations of trace atmospheric gases are growing at rate that could impact human on natural systems . . . ” Flannery then echoes Exxon’s late 1980’s stance that the climate change “uncertainty arises from incomplete scientific understanding and missing data.” Flannery also admits that Exxon’s corporate officials know and understand the negative effects that climate change will have on the company in the future. Flannery concludes by stating, “[w]hile uncertainty exists, science supports the basic idea that man’s actions pose a serious potential threat to climate.”

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