Way back in 2017 the Institute of Physics publication Environmental Research Letters (ERL) published a featured article, Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014), by Supran & Oreskes. The article reverberated widely as it exposed a documented a pattern of behavior arguably described as perfidious. The authors also apparently touched a nerve. A desperate attempt to steer attention from the main topic at hand ensued in “journal time” (like “bullet time” yet even slower) but has backfired spectacularly.
Years later— measurably more ppm CO2 later— ERL has published a comment by Swarup on the original work, and an immediate follow-up reply by the authors. Allez! It’s fortunate that tickets fot this event are free, because it’s extremely short. The shot at Supran & Oreskes did not land wide— it bounced off on a reciprocal trajectory, with added energy.
As Supran & Oreskes seem to have demolished Swarup’s remarks we’ll leave the last word with them. From the reply to comment:
ExxonMobil Corp Vice President Vijay Swarup’s criticisms of our 2017 study (2017 Environ. Res. Lett.12 084019), which demonstrated that ExxonMobil misled the public about climate change, are misleading and incorrect. Thanks in part to his feedback, we can now conclude with even greater confidence that Exxon, Mobil, and ExxonMobil Corp have all, variously, misled the public. We introduce new evidence that by the early 1980s, more than a decade before Mobil launched a vast advertising campaign to attack climate science and its implications, they were already explicitly aware of the potential for their products to cause dangerous global warming. We also observe that part of the comment is based on material provided by a contributor recruited and paid by ExxonMobil Corp, in our opinion as part of a product defense strategy. The comment does not disclose that. This is a case in point of what we argue is misleading behavior documented in our original study.
Bold ours. Touché doesn’t quite describe it. “Tripped and fell on foil?” The comment, and the reply. Enjoy.
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