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Climate warnings of its own scientists ignored

Some of the developments in the past have indignation potential to the present day. So a graph from the year 1982 courses currently on Twitter, the rise of the greenhouse gas CO2 in the atmosphere up to the end of the 21st century. Century represents. What is surprising is shown: CO2 concentration for the year 2019 corresponds approximately to the value a few days ago, the US Agency for ocean and atmospheric research (NOAA) for the 5. May 2019 published: 414 molecules per Million air particles, short ppm., measured at the measuring station on the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa.

Also, the temperature curve is surprising. It shows for 2019, a warming of about 0.9 degrees compared with 1960. Global warming is, according to the most recent measurement data compared to the pre-industrial time of just under 1 degree. Amazingly, on the display only the date, but the author is not, however, the oil multi - Exxon .

image to enlarge

The graphics from the year 1982 and dates back to a document that clearly demonstrates that the leadership of Exxon knew at the time, already in detail informed about the dangerous changes to the global climate through the burning of fossil fuels. The history of Exxon is comparable with the cover-UPS of the tobacco industry.

The author of the paper, Marvin Glaser, Manager of the environmental program of Exxon, writes, among other things, to the increasing concentration of CO2: "The combustion of fossil fuels and the deforestation of tropical forests probably have the biggest share of it." At that time, the concentration at 340 ppm. The Exxon researchers expected, according to their models, a global warming of between 1.3 and 3.1 degrees by 2090, if the concentration is doubled. Your assessment of the CO2 gradient is similar to the model data, the climate scientists twenty years later, in the third report of the world climate Council in 2001.

Innovative climate research

the U.S. news platform "Inside Climate", which brought this document, and many other 2015 to the light. The journalists interviewed former Exxon workers, scientists and Official authorities, they studied hundreds of pages of internal Exxon documents and thousands of documents in the archives of various universities. Many papers have been written between 1977 and 1986. In this period, the group invested a lot of time and money in "innovative" climate-research programs.

A gas station in the Texas town of Keller: The American mineral oil group Exxon knew from early on the Environmental impact of its business. Photo: Donna McWilliam (AP, Keystone)

the Knowledge about the global warming, the Exxon scientist Reto Knutti, Professor of climate physics at ETH Zurich, not surprised. "The physical principles were clear, the first models for the climate development already existed." The physics of the greenhouse effect is 150 years of known observations there are for over 100 years. "And since 50 years, we know that we have a climate problem," says Knutti. The Exxon 1982 report refers, according to Knutti on all the relevant literature on the topic of climate change in this time. The exact correspondence of the values predicted 37 years ago with the current measured data is random. The reason is that forecasts of the global emissions of CO2 are very uncertain. That is why the climate scientists use for a long time for their models of the Future scenarios, which specify a variety of political and technical developments. Further, even today there are quantitative uncertainties in the understanding of the climate system. The climate scientists don't know exactly how much carbon dioxide can save the Vegetation and the seas. "The total uncertainty in predictions of the CO2-concentration of about 40 years, is today a minimum of plus/minus 20 ppm," says Knutti.

the impressive, accurate estimate of the temperature of the Exxon scientists is random. Global warming results in the complex global climate system to changes that are the consequences of currents, for example, on the circulation of the air masses and the sea, which in turn influences the short-term global temperature trends. These feedbacks lead to strong short-term climate fluctuations. The researcher can estimate with uncertainties in how sensitive the climate system responds to increased temperatures. "Predictions for over 40 years, therefore, have an uncertainty of plus/minus 0.5 degrees," says Reto Knutti.

Fatal twist

returns The Exxon scientists provide in their remarkable graphics no uncertainties, discuss them, but in the report, and identify gaps in knowledge that still exist – such as, for example, the role of the sea. The possible consequences are the subject. So Marvin Glaser, chief of the Exxon environmental program writes, to the scenario of 3 degrees of warming: "Some scientists believe that harmful effects might, for example storm surges on the coasts by raising sea levels, triggered by the Melting of the Antarctic ice."

the leadership of The Exxon group took the results of its scientists very seriously. You have to decide, even publications of the results in recognized scientific magazines. On the other hand, the research of the "Inside Climate to show fear" to your business model. You are warned to inform the shareholders about the dangerous role of oil for the global climate, as long as there is uncertainty about the impact of people were.

the attitude of The group's management and then went completely, as in the mid-80s, gradually, the climate change was also in the Public and policy makers on the topic. Exxon was the 1989 co-founder of the Global Climate Coalition, an Association, which also included Shell, BP and Texaco, as well as car manufacturers such as Ford and DaimlerChrysler requested. It was the reaction to the IPCC, established in 1988 by the UN to life. The aim of the Coalition was to cast doubt on the results of the climate researchers. In 2002, it was dissolved, because the members were convinced that the government of George W. Bush pursues its objectives. The present President, Donald Trump, the oil industry has an ally, although it is now beyond dispute is that human beings are the main cause of climate change.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 16.05.2019, 20:40 PM

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