Climate change. It’s not just coming; it’s happening. We know that.
But some knew it long ago.
This graph was generated by Exxon scientists in 1982. We can now check their predictions 40 years later. Back then, the Exxon scientists predicted a carbon dioxide level of 420 parts per million in 2022. Today’s measured level is 420 parts per million — the accuracy of the prediction from 40 years ago is astounding considering how much both climate science and computational power have progressed in the intervening years. For reference, before the industrial revolution carbon dioxide levels never rose above 300 parts per million and 350 parts per million is considered the highest “safe” level before global damage.
The scientists also predicted a world temperature increase of about 1.0 degrees Celsius. Current temperature increase from 1982 is 1.0 degrees Celsius. The astonishing accuracy of these 40-year predictions is not because this science is easy but because the great wealth of Exxon was able to fund an extensive study with top scientists.
So: Exxon knew quite accurately the devastating effects of burning fossil fuels for the past 40 years.
We have squandered these 40 years — 2 generations — to prepare for and/or curb the effects of global warming. We have squandered them because of the efforts of large corporations, the wealthy, and the politicians and propagandists whom are bought with money.
You can see the results of that purchase power when today, incredibly, the right-wing of the Supreme Court began stymieing the ability of the Federal government to address key environmental issues. To limit the ability of the collective to deal with climate change via regulation is to literally commit national suicide for our present way of life. When we continue to squander time on a problem that is growing at an exponential rate, possible solutions to curb or reverse climate change will continue to grow more draconian and even more unpalatable. If you think the costs to combat climate change are high, wait until you see the costs of not combating climate change.
But, for today, the wealthy have continued their successful assault on the home planet — and they knew, with great precision, exactly what they have been doing every step of the way.