Oil Industry’s Suppression of Climate Science Began in 1940s, Documents Reveal
Posted on Apr 13, 2016
A trove of newly uncovered documents shows that fossil fuel companies were explicitly warned of the risks of climate change decades earlier than previously suspected.
And while it’s no secret—anymore—that the companies knew about those dangers long ago, the documents, published Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), reveal even more about the broader industry effort to suppress climate science and foment public doubt about global warming.
Industry executives met in Los Angeles in 1946 to discuss growing public concern about air pollution. That meeting led to the formation of a panel—suitably named the Smoke and Fumes Committee—to conduct research into air pollution issues.
But the research was not meant to be a public service; rather, it was used by the committee to “promote public skepticism of environmental science and environmental regulations the industry considered hasty, costly, and potentially unnecessary,” CIEL writes.