The forerunners of ExxonMobil patented technologies for electric cars and low emissions vehicles as early as 1963 – even as the oil industry lobby tried to squash government funding for such research – according to a trove of newly discovered records.
Patent records reveal oil companies actively pursued research into technologies to cut carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change from the 1960s – including early versions of the batteries now deployed to power electric cars such as the Tesla.
Scientists for the companies patented technologies to strip carbon dioxide out of exhaust pipes and improve engine efficiency as well as fuel cells.
They also conducted research into countering the rise in carbon dioxide emissions – including manipulating the weather.
Esso – one of the precursors of ExxonMobil – obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970 – according to the records.
Other oil companies such as Phillips and Shell also patented technologies for more efficient uses of fuel.
However – the American Petroleum Institute – the main oil lobby – opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles – telling Congress in 1967:
‘We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.
And ExxonMobil funded a disinformation campaigned aimed at discrediting scientists and blocking government efforts to fight climate change for more than 50 years – before publicly disavowing climate denial in 2008.
(ed:..see..!..my headline wasn’t overblown/stated..they are complete and utter evil bastards…who have wrecked the planet in the name of their own profits..
..and who continue their unholy hold over/collusions with governments all over the world..to enable them to continue their pollution-causing but very profitable ways..
..witness the new zealand government recently issuing new exploration/drilling licences to vast areas of ocean off the new zealand coast..
..this in a country blessed with more geothermal/wind/ocean/sun power sources than you can poke a stick at..and a country that should be at least up with the leaders of the pack in doing what needs to be done..
..and a government that leads by non-example – buying a new fleet of gas-guzzling/polluting bmw limos for their ministers..
..a totally imagination/solution-free zone that lot..eh..?..
..and given they now know what needs to be done to save the planet from horrible consequences/outcomes..and are doing nothing/the opposite to what needs to be done…
..is it overblown/over-stating it to also call them ‘evil-bastards’..?
..and do they also lack the imagination to know/realise that their inaction in the face of these clear imperatives will see them permanently marked in history books as villains of/from this era..?…
..and are they all happy with this impending infamy..?..)
The oil industry’s knowledge of dangerous climate change stretches back to the 1960s with unearthed documents showing that it was warned of ‘serious worldwide environmental changes’ more than 45 years ago.
The Stanford Research Institute presented a report to the American Petroleum Institute (API) in 1968 that warned the release of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels could carry an array of harmful consequences for the planet.
The emergence of this stark advice follows a series of revelations that the fossil fuel industry was aware of climate change for decades – only to publicly deny its scientific basis.
‘Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bring about climatic change’ the 1968 Stanford report found and republished by the Center for International Environmental Law states.
‘If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap – a rise in sea levels – warming of the oceans and an increase in photosynthesis.
‘It is clear that we are unsure as to what our long-lived pollutants are doing to our environment; however, there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe’.
The study written by scientists Elmer Robinson and RC Robbins adds that accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause ‘serious worldwide environmental changes’.
The scientists estimated that CO2 in the atmosphere could reach 400 parts per million by 2000.
In fact CO2 levels broke that milestone last year – recording their largest leap on record.
This huge increase in CO2 the primary driver of the greenhouse effect has helped global temperatures rise by 1C over the past century.
It is estimated that about three-quarters of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves – including oil, coal and gas – will have to remain unburned if civilisation is to avoid the worst ravages of climate change – such as droughts floods food insecurity and inundation from rising seas.