Exxon Oil Company discovered, through it's own research, that continued burning of fossil fuels would cause global temperatures to rise. That CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere and acted as an insulting blanket over the planet. In a paper by Henry Shaw (Link to the Henry Shaw Paper here) , manager of the Environmental Area in Exxon Research & Engineering's Technology Feasibility Center, summarized the companies scientific findings.
"Atmospheric CO2 will double in 100 years if fossil fuel use grows at 1.4% per year . An average global average temperature rise of 3 degrees centigrade and 10 degrees at poles will occur if CO2 levels double. The resulting temperature rise will cause major shifts in rainfall/agriculture. The Polar ice may melt"
Shell Oil also clearly understood the dangers that increased burning of fossil fuels posed to the planet. They even made a film titled "Climate of Concern" (See a link to that film here.) Nevertheless, both Exxon and Shell Oil invested heavily in climate change denial and lobbied against efforts to develop renewable energy sources both in the US and Europe.
Oil companies like Shell, Exxon, and Koch Industries knew climate change was happening 36 years ago, and chose to lie and to use it's financial resources to actively hide or obscure the facts. For publicly traded companies like Exxon and Shell this could be seen as criminal conduct. It is illegal to knowingly misinform or mislead investors. Exxon is currently being investigated for racketeering in New York and other states. The Justice Department is investigating Shell Oil
President Lyndon Johnson gave the first address to congress in which climate change was mentioned. He told congress "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels." That was 50 years ago.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Counselor to President Richard Nixon, wrote a memo warning that, due to changes in the climate, sea levels could rise by as much as 10 feet. “Goodbye New York, Good Bye Washington.” Moynihan wrote. That was 46 years ago. (Link to an article on the Moynihan Memo.)
President Ronald Reagan signed the Global Climate Protection Act (P.L. 100-204 Act). That law directed the President of the United States
“to develop and propose to the Congress a coordinated national policy on global climate change.” That was nearly 30 years ago.
Secretary of State James A Baker warned President George H. W. Bush that CO2 warming of the planet posed the
“most far reaching environmental issue of our time.” The memo urged that the United States should take a leadership role in the fight against this threat. The Washington Post reported on these recently declassified documents dating back to the Reagan and Bush administrations. (Here is a Link to James Baker document)
Another memorandum to the President stated
“If climate change within the range of current predictions (1.5 to 4.5 degrees centigrade by the middle of next century) actually occurs, the consequences for every nation and every aspect of human activity will be profound.“
This document was classified “ Confidential” and kept hidden until now. (A Linkt to that Memorandum is here)
The United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and President George H. W. Bush was one of the first signatories. He called on world leaders to translate the written document into
"concrete action to protect the planet." Three months later, the treaty was unanimously ratified by the U.S. Senate.
In July 2015,
The U.S. Defense Department prepared a report that stated:
"DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S. interests globally. The National Security Strategy, issued in February 2015, is clear that climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water. Read a copy of the full report here
Prestigious groups who understand the seriousness of climate change are stating their positions openly trying to counter the efforts of the fossil fuel companies. The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Energy Agency, The Catholic Church, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Bank of England to name just a few. The World Bank created the "Climate Change Knowledge Portal." (Link to the World Bank Climate Portal Here) and describes it's new website as
"a central hub of information, data and reports about climate change around the world."
The Republican Party's denials are simply no longer believable. They know the truth and are choosing to lie.
The University of Massachusetts published a study listing the largest emmiters of greenhouse gases that would be negatively affected by efforts to control climate change.As you might expect they include major Republican campaign donors: (Link Here) Koch Industries, ExxonMobil Corp, Chevron, Phillips 66, Florida Power and Electric, Intermountain Power and Duke Energy. All are large contributors to Republican Candidates and conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation.