If you’re a climate or energy researcher, chances are the fossil fuel industry owns you?

evil If you’re a climate or energy researcher, chances are the fossil fuel industry owns you was a cheery Twit by Benjamin Franta. A variety of people were tewwibly offended, but really, the question should have been why did they expect any sense out of him in the first place? The entire Exxonknew drivel he's promoting is drivel and always has been. I felt obliged to tell otherwise intelligent people Yes, which is why it's all drivel. There's nothing at all new there; and the intent to report is as though it was is, is spreading lies / PR. As I said "you were all happy with F when he was spreading drivel you liked". Now it's drivel you dislike, and you're all astonished.

But it perhaps needs laying out in more detail than Twatter is capable of coping with, so here (for those who found Early oil industry knowledge of CO2 and global warming? for some reason hard to understand) are some words.

1. Back in Ye Olde Dayes, GW was but a twinkle in people's eyes and so there was lots of speculation and inquiry around the subject, including stuff written by Exxon, and even by coal companies.
2. The idea that anyone actually knew exactly what was going on, or could make confident predictions, is wrong. See for example In the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis? for my discussion; but I think it's definitely correct that any date before 1990 is unreasonable. Yes, it's possible to cherry pick pictures that people created in the 80's and declare them to be uncannily prescient, but this is also silly. Incidentally, I think that predicting future CO2 turned out to be much easier than anyone expected. But just cos you know now that it was accurate(ish) doesn't mean you knew it then.
3. The idea that one graph by one person at Exxon proves that "Exxon knew" is also drivel. Exxon is quite a large organistaion. It doesn't have one mind that is always in full agreement with itself and that knows everything it is doing, any more than the USofA does.
4. Everything that the Evil Fossil Fuel Companies knew then was public. So if your complaint is that all this was secret, then you're an idiot. If you think the public were not fully informed of all this vital information, then your complain should be with the govt. The govt is the entity charged with spreading such vital-to-the-general-public information; not EFFCs. See-also #exxonlied;  or The Climate Deception Dossiers? Oreskes is the leader in this kind of drivel, writing stuff like "At least fifty years ago, Defendants-Appellants (hereinafter, “Defendants”) had information from their own internal research, as well as from the international scientific community, that the unabated extraction, production, promotion, and sale of their fossil fuel products would result in material dangers to the public. Defendants failed to disclose this information...". If you can't tell why this is drivel, you haven't been paying attention.

It is possible to complain that after the naive early days, the EFFCs starting spreading misinformation. I think this is a valid complaint (see-also What I said about Exxon). But, it really isn't that exciting. As well as misinformation from the EFFCs there was also lots of good information available from govts and the IPCC; anyone who wanted to be well informed could be; those who wanted to be lied to, were. To get round this problem you need a population that wants to know the truth. Alas, such are hard to find.


David B. Benson said...

Socrates was the wisest of men.

Everett F Sargent said...

"To get round this problem you need a population that wants to know the truth. Alas, such are hard to find."

Actually you need more than just to know the truth. Actions need to be taken. And I don't mean carbon trading Ponzi schemes. Oh and don't get me wrong, no matter the actions taken, it is already to late.

BTW, you should write an article about the IEA, RPJr and Justin Ritchie. About carbon emissions plateauing, apparently sometime before 2040 (but the IEA only goes to 2040 and the underlying WEP2019 report isn't free (yet)). It would appear that when the IEA publishes something that fits one's own worldview, that suddenly the IEA is correct. :/

Everett F Sargent said...

Oops, I'd also like to say that the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2019 suggesting something to the effect "Cut global emissions by 7.6 percent every year for next decade to meet 1.5°C Paris target" ain't ever going to happen. So 1.5C is already off the table.

We would be very lucky if emissions were to drop by 7.6 percent in total over the next decade. Mo, make that extremely, incredibly and exceptionally lucky.

William M. Connolley said...

> RPJr and Justin Ritchie. About carbon emissions plateauing

So I hear. He might be right.

> So 1.5C is already off the table.

This twit was on that subject but with Twatter's threading you'd be hard pushed to tell.

Everett F Sargent said...

"He might be right."

I wouldn't bet on it though.
"The Current Policies Scenario (CPS) shows what happens if the world continues along its present path, without any additional changes in policy. In this scenario, energy demand rises by 1.3% each year to 2040, with increasing demand for energy services unrestrained by further efforts to improve efficiency."

"The Stated Policies Scenario, by contrast, incorporates today’s policy intentions and targets."

"In the Stated Policies Scenario (SPS), energy demand rises by 1% per year to 2040."

"More than ever, energy decision makers need to take a hard, evidence-based look at where they stand and the implications of the choices they make. The World Energy Outlook does not provide a forecast of what will happen. Instead, it provides a set of scenarios that explore different possible futures, the actions – or inactions – that bring them about and the interconnections between different parts of the system."

So, no difference from the IPCC AR6 scenarios. As in, easier said than done. :/

I've gone ahead and taken 2.0C off the table, along with 2.5C and 3.0C! Because I said so.

William M. Connolley said...

I think the Key Uncertainty is how well solar (and to a lesser extent wind) comes along. Growth has been consistently underestimated so I think there is a non-negligible chance of it saving the world. Certainly, there's little chance of all the waste-of-time target setting helping.

Everett F Sargent said...

Here is a much saner analysis of the WEO2019 ...

Oh and I'm not saying that RPJr is insane, as I would never say such a thing, like you know, that RPJr is insane, because RPJr is not insane, really I mean that, RPJr is not insane.

Tom said...

It is a bit of a race, though, isn't it? Can solar continue its growth at or above the pace of population moving into the 'developed' phase of their existence?

It's all about SE Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. As they go so goes the game.


The most interesting trade-off race is cooking energy for the third world .

Will LNG prevail over firewood , or will falling PV and battery costs combine to gazumph both ?

David B. Benson said...

Currently government supplied propane stoves in some countries.

David Appell said...

"The idea that one graph by one person at Exxon proves that "Exxon knew" is also drivel."

It wa a graph written up in a report communicated to their managers.

How long did it take Bell Labs to capitalize on the discovery of the transistor? About 2 years, from discovery in Dec 1947 to patent filing.

I think that if Exxon's management didn't know about CO2's effect on planetary climate -- which really was know even *before* Exxon scientists wrote their report -- it's because they didn't care to know.

And they certainly knew about it in many of the years since. In fact, they STILL know about it and are pumping oil as fast as they can. What does that tell you?

William M. Connolley said...

> communicated to their managers

To all of them? Exxon is a big place.

> discovery of the transistor?

I don't understand what you're trying to say with that. If you're trying to say that it is *possible* for information to flow quickly then I'd say you were correct, but that's irrelevant.

> know even *before* Exxon scientists wrote their report

Ah, good: you agree the report is irrelevant. At least, I think that's what you're saying. However, if you're saying the report, and similar stuff from ~1982 was sufficiently definitive, then I think you're obviously wrong.

> What does that tell you?

That there's the obvious "prisoners dilemma" type problem; and so we should have a carbon tax. Which Exxon at least nominally support.