What Exxon Knew

Clearly, there's going to be an impact so I'm not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is going to have an impact. It'll have a warming impact. How large it is, is very hard for anyone to predict and depending on how large it is then projects how dire the consequences are. In the fall of 2015, an investigation by the Pulitzer Prize winning Inside Climate News as well as the Los Angeles Times and the Colombia School of Journalism revealed a trove of documents from scientists inside oil giant ExxonMobil, showing that Exxon scientists understood the mechanisms and consequences of human caused climate change as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently subpoenaed oil giant ExxonMobil, apparently seeking documents that might show the company had downplayed the risks to profits and therefore to investors of stronger regulations on burning fossil fuels. The documents show Exxon understood a clear scientific consensus existed on the greenhouse effect, that the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could become a serious problem and mentioned the distinct possibility of effects that could be catastrophic for a substantial fraction of the Earth's population.

Exxon scientists stated their research was in accord with the scientific consensus on the effect of increased atmospheric CO2 on climate. Multiple documents mentioned potential adverse impacts such as flooding of coastal land masses due to the melting Antarctica sheets. Our view of this very complex subject over the years, over the decades, has mirrored that of the broader scientific community. In the early 1980s, the scientific community was just beginning to sound the alarm about increasing buildup of gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Researchers say increasingly large amounts of CO2 are accumulating in the atmosphere. They fear the earth will gradually become warmer, causing as yet uncertain but possibly disruptive changes in the Earth's climate 50 to 70 years from now. The discussions that have taken place inside our company among our scientists mirror the discussions that have been taking place in the work that's been taking place by the broader scientific community.

That's what the facts show. Scientists and a few politicians are beginning to worry that global energy planning does not take the greenhouse effect seriously enough. Those same computer models correctly predict the past climate of the Earth. They correctly predict the present climate of the Earth. It is reasonable that they are correctly predicting the future climate on the Earth, given the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that were pouring into the atmosphere. Internal briefing documents for Exxon executives showed a science effort that was on the very cutting edge for its time. Graphs showed projections of temperature rise derived from increasingly complex atmospheric models, much like temperatures that have now been observed in the real world. Using global climate models developed by NASA, Exxon scientists agreed with the mainstream projections of approximately 3 degrees global average temperature rise for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide with a rise of more than 10 degrees projected for polar regions, a phenomenon called polar amplification, which has now been actually observed. Exxon state-of-the-art climate modeling predicted a pattern of planetary warming, projecting the lower atmosphere to warm, while the upper atmosphere cooled, a telltale fingerprint of human-caused warming that has now also been observed in the real world.

This table from 1982 predicts conditions looking well into the future including the current year of 2015 where Exxon predicted atmospheric carbon levels for our time to within nine parts per million and a temperature rise to within a few tenths of degree of the best current observations. But in the following years, something happened at Exxon. The company seem to have forgotten the findings of its own experts. Proponents of the global warming theory say that higher levels of greenhouse gases are causing world temperatures to rise and the burning fossil fuels is the reason. The scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect global climate. You know, there was no doubt that fossil fuels were the main driver of higher CO2 emissions and that CO2 emissions will lead to the climate change, right.

What Exxon was trying to figure out in the 70s and 80s was, when is it gonna hit and how bad is it gonna be but they knew it was gonna be bad like they admitted it is going to be bad, they used the word 'catastrophic' over and over again in documents. Fifteen years later, as the science became more certain, Exxon backed away from that and Lee Raymond talked about that. Many scientists agree there's ample time to better understand climate systems and considered policy options so there's simply no reason to take drastic action now. It's a pretty startling walk back from what, you know, the scientists said 15 years earlier. What he's concerned about and wants to know, is whether Exxon was using one set of scientific models to do its work in the Arctic, for example, where Exxon has been engaged in drilling and on the other hand, telling the public, telling its shareholders a very different set of facts about the state of climate change.

When you're making public disclosures to investors and when you're making public disclosures to government officials, there are laws regulating whether or not that's something that you really need to stand by so if there's evidence demonstrating purposeful concealment and it's too early to say then it really could be a big cloud over the company site. Exxon has funded a number of organizations that he said have been openly climate change deniers, he mentioned the American Enterprise Institute… Take for example, this hold 97% of scientists agree on global warming. That is an utterly fraudulent number. Has Exxon been funding these organizations? Well, the answer is yes, and I'll let those organizations respond for themselves. They're basically saying you and your industry are hiding the risks of climate change just like the tobacco companies hid the risks of smoking.

.. and then using tactics that are very similar to what the cigarette industry or tobacco industry used for many years even though the overwhelming scientific consensus was that smoking cigarettes is bad for you, they would find a few scientists that would disagree and then they would say, look, scientists disagree so that's essentially how they would try to trick the public into thinking that smoking is not that bad. There are allegations that ExxonMobil also funded research from somebody for example at the Smithsonian Institution without disclosing and without that person disclosing that he was going on a certain path whereby there were other scientists within ExxonMobil that might have had beliefs to the contrary. You have received over a million dollars and funds from coal and oil interests. The last grant you received from a funder with no ties to the energy industry was in 2002. That's over a decade ago. In recent weeks, ExxonMobil has accused Columbia School of Journalism of ethical misconduct in reporting this story. In response, Steve Coll, the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, has refuted those allegations in a detailed letter since published in The New York Times.

Meanwhile, 2015 will soon go down in history as the hottest year globally in the modern record with indications that 2016 will be even warmer. We can't be a 100% sure, but which is more prudent? Which is wiser? …to do nothing and hope that a mistake has been made, or to take these predictions seriously even if there's a chance the precautions you will take will be unnecessary..

Climate Change Threatens Costal Power Plants With Flooding

America we remembered is a couple years ago in 2011 when there with the tsunami that sent forty-nine foot wave crashing through the nation of Japan and destroying them Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan a new study has come out indicating that a lot of the nuclear power plant a kiss on the east coast to this country could be underwater in just a couple years so a lot of our power plants are built close to water and that's because you have sort of I i'm not a nuclear scientist but something with water just used to wash the staffing but the outer while because of the sea level rise due to climate change or global warming arm is a good possibility that you know we would be a lobbyist and the predicted that the the novice level rather than ever thought would rise to the level where it would affect the nuclear power plant the currently that are currently in operation that are on call in coastal areas but nobody predicted that we would be such a high level high sea level rise because up I'm a changing global warming but it is happening and that means that we can possibly see a lot of our nuclear power plants just like the one in Fukushima and up underwater now there's a particular the couple be that we're talking about there's one particular Salem and hope Creek nuclear generation station which if possible the back and underwater on there's the Turkey Point their Saint Lucie there's Brunswick there's Seabrook their South the South Texas project there's millstone and there's program all that these plans to Turkey Point nuclear which is in Florida in homestead florida could be underwater by 2033 very mysterious issues here the same lose the power plant could be underwater by 2043 the Brunswick steam electric plant could be underwater by 2036 the Seabrook station could be underwater by 2030 these are all new scientific predictions and we don't act now to reverse climate change will never ever ever ever archive you'll never be able to retire recover who have kids born with like 10 like 14 fingers or maybe four fingers where home.

Glaciers and Global Warming | MconneX | MichEpedia

My research involves looking at how ice sheets and glaciers break One of the things that we observed right around 2002, which was shocking, was the Larsen Ice Shelf, the entire peninsula, it’s a tiny little ice shelf But as far is anybody knows, it sat there there happily for ten thousand years, possibly a lot longer Then, over about six weeks, culminating in March 2002, The entire ice shelf completely disintegrated So it’s just gone And so we have these extremely rapid events that have potential to change the picture that… what we’ve always thought about ice sheets is that they change really rapidly When you think about things over a century we normally ignore the ice sheets like we used to because it’s gonna change really slowly That’s the way we’re used to thinking about it But this type of event completely upended our thinking about that that you could have really rapid changes that occur over days, weeks, maybe even less than a day So these are pretty dramatic changes We have an idea; we have a theory about how it’s happened, but we can’t predict it yet What are the likelihood that it happens to different ice shelves? What if it happens to one of the really big ice shelves? Then what’s gonna happen? We know that ice sheets are these huge masses of ice, and they’ve been there for a long time.

And we have smaller glaciers that have also been there for a while but not quite as long And the way they lose mass is they can either melt, or bits of ice can break off and if it’s in contact with the ocean, they float away and then they eventually melt And it turns out, for the major ice sheets Greenland and Antarctica, a significant portion of their mass is lost by breaking, by iceberg calving-is what we call it it’s about fifty percent maybe as high as seventy percent But it’s very uncertain; it’s a huge amount of mass and it’s really significant because we’ll occasionally get these icebergs that are the size of Massachusetts close to the size of texas sometimes the break off oversight then they float off paidcontent rupturing lanes eventually built into the ocean and is an important process that we need to understand the biggest question that we’re looking back is really how much age she scan contrary to seal to arise over the next century cell you’ve lived close to the ocean you probably want to know if segal was gonna rise by a meter or two which is the upper end of the estimates or maybe only five or ten or twenty centimeters which seems unlikely given what we’ve observed but we can entirely rule out this is one piece twelve the facts of global warming and one piece of intact open we don’t really understand how increased surface temperatures capture temperatures or function temperature taken effect if you move it up but there or hot water close to the asians we know what’s going on and leaving so is the big part of that and what do you start melton there’s going to get your adding fresh walking for changing the system and with the positive and negative feedback is interesting but we don’t know willful.

 

Climate Connections: Questions from Puerto Rico

Climate Connections: Questions from the Caribbean – San Juan, Puerto Rico [Music] Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate Connections. I’m your host, Jessica Robertson. In this episode, our questions came from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let’s see what questions they had for our scientists. Lorana: Hi my name is Lorana, and I’m just wondering why the rainy season has taken longer than usual. Coral Roig-Silva: Hello Lorana, thanks for your question. My name is Coral Roig-Silva with the USGS. The amount of rain and length of precipitation varies from year to year. As the climate gets warmer, extended droughts broken up by intense storms may become the norm. Hurricanes may become more intense with stronger peak winds and may increase the rainfall in some areas. In Puerto Rico, the USGS Caribbean Water Science Center monitors groundwater levels, stream flow and precipitation. Go to their website to find out more information: http://pr.water.usgs.gov Maria: Hello, my name is Maria De Azúa, and I live here in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and I do have a lot of questions. What about those solar tsunamis — is that for real? What can we do and what’s next? Jeffrey Love: Maria, thank you for your question about the sun and climate change. Your question about tsunamis, well, those are what scientists call solar storms. The sun is always emitting radiation and it also gives off a wind of electrically charged particles. When that happens abruptly, that’s what we call a solar storm. As for whether or not solar storms and magnetic storms are themselves responsible for recent climate change, that has not been definitively shown. The consensus among scientists is that the sun is not responsible for most recent climate change and it is we humans who are having the greatest impact. Mina: Hello, my name is Mina. We are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I’m wondering if we are going to see polar bears anytime soon by the island because I know the ice caps are melting. Thank you.

Matthew Larsen: My name is Matt Larsen and I am the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change with the U.S. Geological Survey. We are unlikely ever to see polar bears swimming near Puerto Rico, but we are likely to see changes in other types of local fauna and flora. We may see different types of birds moving to that region. We may see different types of birds moving out as the changes in climate make it less hospitable for those animals. We may also see different types of plants that can no longer survive in an island climate that maybe gets more frequent droughts or more frequent storms. These are just some of the things that we anticipate in the Caribbean and we are already seeing in some parts of the world. Jessica Robertson: That’s it for this episode of USGS Climate Connections in Puerto Rico. We hope you join us again next time. [Music].

Climate Change in the Marshall Islands

>>Jennifer Newell (assistant curator, Division of Anthropology): The culture of the Marshall Islands is a very community based, supportive, warm kind of culture. When there's a disaster or a long-term drought, you know that your neighbors will look after you, you know that your family, wherever they are, will look after you. And there's also a lot of pride in history of being the finest navigators in the world, in being the people who are able to navigate things of all sorts. The sorts of disasters we can't even imagine. The nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands was something that is hard to imagine any community having to deal with, and then now the new adversity that they're having to deal with is climate change. Climate change is an important topic for island communities because it is an existential problem for Pacific Islanders. Many islanders are going to be losing their homes. They've only got small islands a lot of the time.

For the 2016 Niarchos expedition that I was able to work on, I really wanted to look into a place where there was very obvious effects of climate change, where people are responding to it in really effective ways, at all levels, and use it as an example of how a Pacific Island is responding to climate change. The Marshall Islands were selected because I had already been learning about the Marshall Islands a lot for a number of years through my work with one of my research collaborators here in New York, Tina Stege, who's a Marshall Islander, who's worked a lot on all these issues, both in the Marshalls and here. >>Tina Stege (International Liason, Marshallese Educational Initiative): There's this narrative about the Pacific, that climate change, is like this huge wave, it's coming, it's crashing down on us – and people there are just unable to do anything. And that wasn't the story that I knew. And I wanted to make sure that that story, that people were out there, active, trying to find solutions – there's that story.

And that's why we went to the Marshall Islands. We went to the capital, which is Majuro, and then we also went to a more rural environment, and that place was called Namdrik. >>Newell: We were interviewing people using semi-structured interviews, so we had a list of questions which each of us who was interviewing would be using. When we're asking people, "Do the fish come at the same time they always used to? Are you getting as many fish as before?" and people would always have something they'd notice, like "Oh yes, there's a certain type of fish that doesn't come anymore, at all," or "these ones come a bit later," and everything's becoming a little bit more unpredictable. >>Stege: Nearly everyone had seen the effects of a changing climate. Houses that used to be ten feet from the shore are literally right next to the water.

They would mention flooding, and how it just didn't used to happen with that kind of frequency. They literally had just finished coming out a drought, so that was uppermost on everyone's minds. One of the main things that came across when we were asking people questions like, "How did you get through the drought?" They'd say "Well when I didn't have any more water in my catchment, I went to my neighbor, and they provided water for me." There's a Marshallese concept that we call "lale doon" – to take care of one another. It's one of the most important aspects of our culture, and we need to continue to nurture that if we're going to be able to be resilient in the way we've been for so many generations. >>Newell: The hub of Marshallese culture, which is this togetherness, looking after each other, is what gives them their greatest resilience.

I see resilience as being the capacity to adjust in the face of challenges, and it's things like their capacity to travel well, to migrate effectively, to be able to stay in touch with family and their land. The extent to which a particular community is able to work together is what really determined their capacity to deal with climate change. That's a factor that we all need to really think through, and make sure that you do build those networks with your immediate community, with your, with your neighbors. We need to have at all those different levels – local level, national level, international level – much more understanding about what people need and how to get support to the people who need it. >>Stege: What does the future look like? I'm not sure. We're wondering if we'll be able to stay, and if so how long. We're wondering if we have to leave, where we would go. To know where you want to go, you have to come from a place of strength and of being centered.

And the islands have done that for us..