Exxon first figured out that carbon emissions were a significant threat to world environment in 1981. They kept that little fact to themselves until someone hacked into old memos and found out. This is the tobacco industry argument–if the executives of Big Tobacco knew their product was death even for non-smokers, why weren’t they being prosecuted under the RICO statutes? The folks at Exxon knew their product was putting the planet at risk and sat back silent. Somebody needs a perp-walk. And the ‘scientists’ put forward to deny global warming were willing accomplices in burying the science for the sake of a buck.
With the sorta-news that Exxon has known about the threat of climate change since 1981, (is that the year they first hired a physicist?), maybe it’s time to ask if climate denial meets the definition of organized crime – as Senator Whitehouse does above, starting about 2 minutes in….
Yet the fossil fuel industry continues its crafty, cynical campaign of denial and delay. Big coal, oil, and natural gas, and related industries like the Koch Brothers’ companies, profit by offloading the costs of their carbon pollution onto the rest of us. They traffic in products that put health and safety at risk, and they don’t tell the truth about their product.
Sound familiar? It should, because the fossil fuel industry is using a familiar playbook, one perfected by the tobacco industry. Big tobacco fought for more than four decades to bury the truth about the health effects of its product.
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