New research shows the Exxon company scientists were as “skillful” as independent experts in predicting how the burning of fossil fuels would warm the planet and bring about climate change.
The peer-reviewed paper, published Thursday in the journal Science, analyzed all known climate predictions produced or reported by scientists at ExxonMobil and its predecessor from 1977-2003, and found that they were “at least as skillful” as those by independent experts (Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999). Like those independent models, most of Exxon’s proved to be accurate.
For decades, some members of the fossil fuel industry tried to convince the public that a causative link between fossil fuel use and climate warming could not be made because the models used to project warming were too uncertain. Supran et al . show that one of those fossil fuel companies, ExxonMobil, had their own internal models that projected warming trajectories consistent with those forecast by the independent academic and government models. What they understood about climate models thus contradicted what they led the public to believe.
“There ls currently no unambiguous scientific evidence that the earth ls warmlng. If the earth ls on a warmlng trend, we’re not likely to detect it before 1995. This is about the earliest projection of when the temperature might rise the 0.5° needed to get beyond the range of normal temperature fluctuations. On the other hand, if climate modeling uncertainties have exaggerated the temperature rise, it is possible that a Caron dioxide induced “greenhouse effect” may not be detected until 2020 at the earliest.”
The oil industry has long had some of the best scientists and research labs in the world. Exxon alone spent $1.2B on research and development last year (ending Sept. 30, 2022). The National Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAR), the premier climate science research institute in the US, and, some would say, the world, spends $173M in 2017 (didn’t find newer), make that $205M with inflation, 17% of Exxon’s R&D.
For those who think that climate science is a hoax and a fraud, I have one question. If climate science is nonsense, why doesn’t the oil industry spend just 17% of just one company’s R&D budget, build a world-class research team, and prove climate science wrong. They already have the people and the facilities and they could easily hire to fill any holes. The climate science they did do was spot on. But they stopped, decades ago. Why?
And yet there seem to be endless threads on this board on things like whether the payback for rooftop solar is7 years or 10 or 12 years.
And then there is the EV issue with people worried that “some people” can’t charge at home or that their few long trips they take per year might involve a 30 minute charge every day.