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Oil Producers, Carmakers Knew of Climate Risk in 1954 – Guardian

Newly found documents show fossil fuel interests funded research in 1954 to measure the impact of CO2 on the atmosphere, indicating that the oil industry knew about ‘the threat to civilization’ nearly 70 years ago

Climate activists disguised as CEOs of major oil companies take part in a fake banquet celebrating profits, in a call on states taking part in COP28 climate summit to fund a loss and damage fund by taxing fossil fuel profits, near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, November 27, 2023 (Reuters).


Oil and car manufacturing interests provided thousands of dollars to fund landmark research by Charles Keeling on the world’s rising carbon dioxide levels across the west of the United States nearly 70 years ago, according to a report by The Guardian, which said “newly unearthed documents” uncovered by the Climate Investigations Center and published in DeSmog reveal that fossil fuel interests backed a group known as the Air Pollution Foundation, which gave funding to Keeling in 1954 to measure CO2 and identify “changes in the atmosphere” caused by the burning of coal and petroleum. This was earlier than any previously known climate research funded by oil companies, it said.

Keeling’s research went on to track the steady increase of carbon in the atmosphere that has caused the climate crisis and “has been hailed as one of the most important scientific works of modern times,” it said, adding that “the documents show the fossil fuel industry had intimate involvement in the inception of modern climate science, along with its warnings of the severe harm climate change will wreak, only to then publicly deny this science for decades and fund ongoing efforts to delay action on the climate crisis.”

It quoted climate disinformation expert Geoffrey Supran as saying the documents “make a mockery of the oil industry’s denial of basic climate science decades later.”

Read the full report: The Guardian.




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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