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.

Can We Save Our Cities From Drowning?

The antarctic ice sheet is DEFINITELY MELTING! Here's a crazy idea: let's NOT wait until millions of people are homeless before we do something about it. Eh? Eh? Hello folks, Laci Green here for DNews. When it comes to the rising sea level, one of the key players is our Southern buddy Antarctica. Antarctica is a something of a neglected continent because basically nobody lives there– but it is about twice the size of Australia and contains 90% of the earth's ice. The entire continent is basically a 1 mile thick slab of ice. If the whole thing were to melt, the sea level across the planet would rise 200 feet. And humanity would be TOTALLY screwed. Fortunately, we're only SLIGHTLY screwed. Multiple studies published in the journal Science predict that we're looking at closer to a TEN foot increase in sea level across the planet by the year 2200. So hey! It's not 200 hundred feet…but 10 is still a lot, even across the projected 200 year period.

By the time your great-great-grandbabies are walking the earth, around 29,000 square miles of US land will be under water — land that is currently inhabited by over 12 million people. Researchers at Climate Central say that New York City, New Orleans, Miami and DC will be the areas that are most heavily flooded. Various coastal cities in Texas, New Jersey, New England, Virginia, California will also be severely affected. In Florida, the highest risk area, ⅓ of all its housing will go under, and because of what are essentially holes in Florida's bedrock, levees and seawalls will be useless. On a global scale, thirteen of the world's largest cities and about 25% of humanity rests in coastal areas that will be affected. Some inhabited islands, like the Maldives, are projected to go underwater completely. Of course, this kind of rise also poses a great threat for severe flooding during storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Plus tsunami zones from earthquakes will extend much further back into the land. BUT! Before you freak, keep in mind that this is something that will happen SLOWLY, over time. It's not an overnight thing. The melt predicted is also not reversible, it's gonna happen, so cities will need to figure out how they will handle the physical and economic impacts — a process that begins by scientists and policymakers working together and asking the right questions to get started. The American Geophysical Union is already asking: alright guys, what's our approach here? Should we build up our seawalls? Should we start to zone future buildings and real estate further up on the land? How will this affect our economy? To prevent even more sea level rising, we should also be seriously thinking about what role humans play in preventing more ice melting. The common response to this kind of news is usually fear (OH MY GOD!) followed by apathy (I DON'T CARE!).

I'd argue that the proper response isn't fear or apathy at all — it's action. Action in the form of prevention and adaptation. Time to roll up those sleeves and get to work. What do you think? Tell me about it down below and I'll see you next time with more science updates..

5 Islands That Are Going To Disappear

There are places in the world which are being eaten away as sea levels rise. What’s going to happen to them!? Whether you call it global warming or climate change, this shiz is going down – it’s happening. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for every 2 degrees (1 C) increase in global temperatures, the seas will rise seven feet (2.3 M). That’s HUGE.

Sea levels are rising because of melting ice, yes, but ALSO warming oceans – as you might remember from physics, warm things expand, and that includes water. But when you’re talking about quintillions of gallons, even a small expansion can up sea levels. Places like Kiribati – a 33 island-nation in the Pacific, are already being affected. The 100,000 people that live on Kiribati’s islands have already started to feel rising seas encroach on their way of life. Perhaps as soon as 30 years from now, their country will become uninhabitable. Because of seawater creeping into their fields, the government purchased 6,000 acres (2428 hectares) on nearby Fiji so they could provide food security and a refuge if people become homeless.

This is happening now! And they’re not the only ones, the 350 archipelago chains of Panama are being lost to sea level rise, and though they’re lucky to have the mainland of Panama to move onto, the indigenous Kuna people have lived there for thousands of years – and now, thanks to global climate screwery – their islands will be underwater in maybe 20 years. 20! Tuvalu is a famous island nation, for two, rather saddening reasons. One, they are like 10 feet (3 meters) above sea level, and they’re slowly disappearing. And two, they blame two of the largest carbon emitters for destroying their nation and threatened to sue them in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Those two countries were the United States and Australia.

Kiribati and the Maldives joined the lawsuit, but it never came to fruition. The seas of Funafuti, the atoll Tuvalu is on, have risen about a quarter inch (5.5 mm) every year for the last decade. During World War II, US soldiers placed a gun embankment on a Tuvalu beach, and it’s now 20 feet offshore. But this isn’t just happening on tiny, far-flung Pacific islands. The city of Venice is 118 islands built up over 1,500 years. As sea levels increase 2 millimeters every year, they’re trying to build seawalls to stop the oceans, but in the next 20 years, they’ll be fighting 3.2 inches (80 mm) more ocean, with more coming every year. More to splash around, more to flood, and more to try to hold back. And holding back the sea is only part of it, a warming climate means more intense storms and higher levels mean bigger storm surges…

The Sydney Opera was built 11 feet above sea level and is only 41 years old, and scientists are worried the pier it’s built on will be increasingly vulnerable to storm surges and extreme weather. And 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey predicts the sea levels on the eastern seaboard of the United States will rise three to four times faster than the global average! After Superstorm Sandy, Liberty Island where New York’s Statue of Liberty stands, was 75 percent under water and Ellis Island was completely submerged. These monuments might seem like they’ll be there forever, but as seas rise and the earth warms… We don’t know… How does stuff like this make you feel? Should island nations be able to sue carbon-spewing ones? Tell us what you think in the comments below, we do actually read them, ya know.

Sea-level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington: Past, Present, Future

Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington Past, Present, Future National Research Council of the National Academies The National Research Council has just completed a new report on sea level rise along the coast of California, Oregon and Washington which is intended to provide elected officials, coastal managers, and decision makers with an objective and independent analysis upon which they can base future coastal planning. Sea levels are rising because the ocean is warming which increases ocean volume, and also because ice sheets and glaciers are melting Over the past century tide gages indicate that sea level has risen globally about 7 inches but over the last 20 yrs satellite measurements indicate that number has accelerated to nearly twice as fast as its been over the last hundred years So the question is how much will sea level rise over the next century? Although we have global sea level rise values, we know from place to place that those values will vary depending on offshore oceanographic conditions and whether the land is rising or sinking or is tectonically active, and along the west coast we know we have an active coastline such that the land has been rising and sinking which affects those local sea level rise values.

From San Diego north to Cape Mendocino, we know the coast of California which is the Pacific plate is sliding alongside the San Andreas fault with very little vertical motion along the coast line such that sea level from tide gages over the last century is close to the global number about 4-8 North of Cape Mendocino, along the coast of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, however, the land has been slowly rising such that many of the tide gages actually show a small drop in sea level over the last century or so This region lies along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the Juan de Fuca Plate, descends or is subducted, beneath the North American Plate. This builds up seismic strain along the coast, which actually pushes the land upward, and explains why sea level in the region has dropped, even as global sea level has risen. This could all change very rapidly however if we have a large offshore earthquake which could cause rapid subsidence and therefore an instant rise in sea level.

Observations and projections of both climate change and sea level rise indicate that sea level rise is going to continue to rise well into the future. There are uncertainties however and that makes precise predictions difficult. The further we go out in time, the greater those uncertainties become The Committee projected future regional sea levels, and they vary along the west coast. By 2030 our average sea-level rise values for the area south of Cape Mendocino are projected to be about 6 inches, while to the north, only about 2 inches of rise is expected because the coastline is slowly rising. By 2050, we project 12 inches orf rise to the south and 6 inches to the north along the Oregon and Washington coasts; and by 2100, average values of 36 inches along the California coast are projected, and 24 inches north of Cape Mendocino.

These are average values however and the actual values could be significantly higher or lower. For some perspective, the two major international airports in San Francisco Bay, San Francisco and Oakland, were built on fill only a few feet above sea level such that 16 inches of sea level rise, which could happen within the next several decades, would begin to inundate those runways. Many west coast communities already experience coastal erosion, flooding and inundation, and loss of wetlands due to El Ni o elevated sea levels, the impacts of large storm waves at times of high tide, and a slowly rising sea level. The water levels reached during these short-term events have exceeded mean sea levels projected for 2100. Thus, at least for the next several decades, these events are a greater hazard for the west coast than the climate-driven rise in sea level. It is very likely that in the future as sea level continues to rise, that the impacts of those events will get greater in magnitude and also likely they will increase in frequency, as we move into the future.

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Which Country Will Be Under Water In Our Lifetime?

History is filled with nations losing their territory to invading forces, and it’s often the case that when the land is gone or conquered, the nation that occupied it disappears too. The island country of the Maldives is in danger of losing their territory today, but not to any invading army. The Maldives could become the first state in history to be completely erased by the sea. The Maldives nation consists of around 1200 little islands at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. It is also the planet’s lowest country; on average its land is only 5 feet above sea level. This puts the country at the highest risk of being partly or fully submerged by a rising ocean. If the water level keeps rising, 77% of the Maldives territory will be under water by the year 2100.

If the rate of rise gets worse, the country could be completely submerged as early as 2085. Obviously, this is a major concern for the Maldives. Officials have been warning the international community about the issue since the 80s, but as with all issues involving climate change, it’s hard to get people to listen, and harder still to get people to act. So the Maldives made a bold symbolic statement in 2009 by holding a cabinet meeting of their government underwater. In full scuba gear, President Mohamed Nasheed signed a document calling for a global reduction in carbon emissions. “If the Maldives cannot be saved today we do not feel that there is much of a chance for the rest of the world,” he said. Of course, for the Maldives the rising sea levels don’t threaten just the coastlines of the nation, but its very existence. When the territory is gone, the Maldives claim of statehood may vanish too. Officials even started building artificial islands for population movement, but international maritime law doesn’t recognize artificial lands as official territory.

Nor does it recognize those who flee lands because of climate change as climate refugees. Of course, the world has never seen anything like this before, so the its laws may have to be altered. There are a lot of hard decisions ahead for the Maldives and the international community. If we can’t reverse the effects of climate change, then we may be on the verge of watching an the first nation being swallowed by the sea. If you’d like to learn more about sea level rise and the sea ice that’s causing it, check out this informative video by our friends at DNews!.