November 1, 2023 [Forbes]- This post follows a previous post which pointed to significant influence that ExxonMobil+Pioneer created in the oil and gas sphere.
Now we explore the company’s influence in climate and the energy transition. In this sphere, it’s quite remarkable what the company has accomplished in just the past few years, and it looks like this is just a start.
Influence on climate change in the energy transition.
The energy transition brought on by climate change has not been clearly associated with ExxonMobil until the last couple of years. BP has invested heavily in renewable energies, and Occidental is starting to act like a carbon management company. But ExxonMobil?
On a closer look, history has misjudged Exxon before and after its merger with Mobil in 1999. Exxon had a head start over other oil companies in studying global warming. In the 1970s and 1980s they predicted with stunning accuracy the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration up to 2020 — and the accompanied rise in global temperature.
They got this right. And they agreed that it had a human cause – largely due to burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels that today contribute 73% of all global carbon emissions.
But in later years it was alleged that Exxon in public cast doubt on the science of climate change. But This has been challenged by an alternative interpretation:
Predicting climate change is a different animal from predicting global warming. Yes, there are direct indicators such as Arctic ice melting, glaciers retreating, corals bleaching, and sea levels rising. But much more serious are weather extremes such as the killer quad of droughts, wildfires, super-rain floods, and hurricanes. These can wreak havoc in the form of famines, flooding, migration, and government instability. But these severe effects have not worsened over the last 40-50 years, on a global basis, while global warming has increased by 1 C degree.
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