According to a recent report from Inside Climate News, scientists hired by Exxon had concluded in the 1970s and '80s that continuing to burn great quantities of fossil fuels would likely produce "catastrophic events" that could endanger humanity. Therefore, said these scientists, Exxon should begin a transition away from fossil fuels to renewable resources. But in the late '80s, the executives began using money to deny that burning fossil fuels is dangerous. In light of this history, it is interesting to look at some of the main claims of the climate-denial campaign -- claims that have been primarily supported by ExxonMobil, even though Exxon scientists knew them to be false by 1980. Below is an excerpt from the chapter on "Climate Denial" in David Ray Griffin, Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? (Clarity Press, 2015):
The denialist-disinformation campaign has generated many claims. The Skeptical Science website about denialist claims has provided (as of July 2014) 176 such claims, beginning with the most popular ones. A dozen of these are briefly discussed here.
1. The Lack of Consensus: Over 30,000 scientists signed the Petition Project.
However, the Petition Project supported by Frederick Seitz was, as shown above, about as far removed from a scientific sampling as could be imagined. By contrast, Naomi Oreskes in 2004, carrying out a scientific test, looked at all the papers regarding "climate change" she had found in refereed journals between 1994 and 2003. Asking how many of these 928 articles argued against the consensus (IPCC) position, she found the number to be "zero." She concluded that "there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change." This conclusion has been confirmed by later studies:
A 2009 study found that, when asked whether "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures," 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded "yes."
A 2010 survey of 1,372 climate researchers showed that "97-98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."