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Sat, Dec. 07

Letter: Climate strategy


The science is overwhelming. Climate change is real and poses a grave threat to human life on earth. We need to keep average global temperature rise below a livable 2-degree centigrade temperature rise. So why the persistent doubt and uncertainty?

Primarily because of disinformation spread by the 100 global energy companies that are responsible for 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

An environmental writer, Alex Steffen, has labeled this aberrant behavior as “predatory delay”.

The misinformation poster child is Exxon. In 1977, James F. Black, one of Exxon’s senior scientists, informed the company’s top leaders, “There is general scientific agreement that the likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon-dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”

How has Exxon responded over 40 years of knowing the truth about climate change?

• Issued an internal memo recommending that the company “emphasize the uncertainty” in the scientific data about climate change.

• Another strategy document declared that “victory will be achieved” when average citizens and the media “recognize uncertainties in climate science” to be “conventional wisdom”

• Spent more than $33 million supporting organizations that questioned the scientific consensus on global warming.

This helps explain why 2017 polls found that almost 90 percent of Americans did not believe there was a scientific consensus on global warming. Exxon and other energy companies have systematically compromised the global struggle to adequately reduce GHG emissions. This “predatory delay” needs to be confronted and stopped.

Tim Scherkenbach

Yavapai Climate Change Coalition


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