ExxonMobil climate models accurately forecast climate change 45 years ago

2023/01/12 Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

ExxonMobil refinery, Baton Rougen, Louisiana. Ed. WClarke / CC-BY-SA 4.0

The climate models developed by the oil company ExxonMobil from gas accurately announced global warming. The climate projections of this company have been quantitatively evaluated by researchers at Harvard University and Postdam Institute, reaching this conclusion.

In 2015, journalists published that, according to the company’s internal documents, they were aware that fossil fuels could produce global warming that could have serious environmental consequences. Later, more research based on company documents suggests that the company's scientists openly revealed that climate change was real and man-made; and reported that, despite this information, ExxonMobile disseminated messages that denied climate change. The company, for its part, has so far denied the existence of this information.

Now, a new paper published in Science confirms what previous research showed. In this case they have analyzed the numbering of the company documents. In particular, they have evaluated the projections made by ExxonMobile between 1977 and 2003, and have seen that most projections (63-83 per cent) accurately forecast what has happened subsequently, models as good as those held at the time by the Academy and Governments. In fact, like the other models, ExxonMobile announced a temperature rise of 0.2°c per decade.

In addition, they were fair in ruling out an era of ice due to the effect of CO2, announcing that from 2000±5 years onwards it would be possible to detect human-induced global warming and sufficiently estimated the amount of CO2 that could be emitted to keep the warming below 2 °C. On each of these points, however, the public statements made by the company were in contradiction with its scientific data.