Big Oil Could Have Put A Dent In CO2 Emissions In 1970s — But Did Nothing

According to new documents from the Center for International Environmental Law, the industry chose to prioritize costs over the planet.

The new documents show oil companies chose to invest in climate denying instead of on technologies to reduce emissions.

Between the 1950s and 1970s, the industry also financed studies into how petroleum products could be used to control the climate.

The research included burning oil to clear areas of fog and smog, and constructing massive “artificial heat mountains” out of asphalt to increase rainfall.

As early as the 1980s, oil companies were beginning to invest in taller oil rigs that could withstand rising sea levels.

Tom Sanzillo, finance director at the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Vice there is a clear potential, perhaps even likelihood, that these documents will result in litigation against oil companies.

Sanzillo said, “This looks like it’s pretty serious, and it just seems to get worse.”


heirloomerfarm's picture
heirloomerfarm 8 years 3 weeks ago

I'm not sure how much influence man's behavior has had on climate change. Massive climate changes have occurred frequently throughout Earth's history... a fact well documented. I'm certain there is some influence. What bothers me more than man's influence on climate change is his internally (not public) acknowledged contamination of our air, water, land and food supply and seemingly has little or no regard of its impact on the health of all of life.

cccccttttt 8 years 3 weeks ago

Lets hope the lawsuits bring the same results they did against tobacco companies.

But realize that until the limited liability of corporate execs is removed, they will

continue to devise means to further their bottom line at the publics expense.


Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 3 weeks ago

#1 - You are right on!

Some of the stuff these companies do is environmentally criminal

I know they actively emit their pollutants in the dim of night and time these events to avoid public observation

Queenbeethatsme's picture
Queenbeethatsme 8 years 3 weeks ago

Humans are creatures of denial and Americans are masters of the stall. Everyone likes to think we still have enough time to kick responsible decisions down the road. Sooner or later, there is no more time and it all comes due.

The idea is if we can prevent something from occurring on our own watch we can leave it for someone else to solve.

We forgot that "tomorrow" has come and gone for years.

We even have scientists that enable and feed our denial. Even on this blog, there are people in denial.

I'll never forget my dad telling me the story about a soldier about to die saying "next time..." As if he would get a do over.

On the one hand we talk about positive feed back loops being in play which means we are doomed and in the next breath we cite pie in the sky remedies that we are not even going to attempt (stop reproducing and make everyone go vegan...AS IF...) IN THE NEXT BREATH we project what our grandchildrens' world will be like.

Are we so immature, so myopic that we cannot even consider there will be no next time.? grandchildrens' world and no need for recriminations about what big oil could have done?.

We really, REALLY, don't want to go down the finger pointing road lest we find the world pointing fingers at the culture that spearheaded gluttonous energy and resource use, or point at certain races whose brilliance at "progress" has basically doomed us all.

Is there a "to be continued" aspect? Does hope spring eternal? When is hope just a facade for delusional denial?

Even now..most of us cannot grow up or face inconvenient truths. We talk about what we should do..knowing good and well our government will most likely do nothing, and in the end blithely talk about "next time"

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 3 weeks ago

Obviously for the oil barons, the seduction of wealth was too much to overcome, even when armed with the science of a global environmental catastrophe. It's going to take selfless and strong leadership to pull us out of this one.

We all know the choice Dangerous Don will make......along with someone like Palin as his running mate, it will be drill baby drill. Bernie is the selfless and determined leader we need for this time and place in history.

The corpse media has already crowned Dangerous Don as leader of the largest military the planet has ever could end up being game over by nukes before game over by climate change. Trump supporters are "Fox" sleep walking right into a hellish nightmare, and taking the rest of us down with them.

Meanwhile our government is now trying to arm Vietnam with lethal weapons.. ...we're an evil empire for's not going to end pretty.

jjkm's picture
jjkm 8 years 3 weeks ago

Because human weren't around millions of years ago, we know about climate changes in the past from climate scientists, the same ones who are saying that human activity is the chief culprit this time around. There are numerous surveys of peer reviewed climate studies, including by NASA. The last round of studies was almost 10,000 scientists to 3 saying humans are the primary ambiguity there.

Here's a start:

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