Climate Files Update: Shell, Exxon, and Early Denial

Document Updates

As climate change impacts grow more serious everyday, documents housed on Climate Files preserve the crucial history of who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did next.

Recently released documents include:
  1. 1996 remarks from former ExxonMobil CEO, Lee Raymond;
  2. 1994 edition of ABC’s Nightline television program reporting on corporate funding of prominent climate change deniers including Patrick Michaels;
  3. and a 1959 article by Shell International Chemical Company’s Dr. M. A. Matthews regarding Royal Dutch Shell’s engagement with climate science.


Lee Raymond, Former ExxonMobil CEO

Lee Raymond, Climate Files, Climate Denial, Climate ChangeRecords of Raymond’s climate denying remarks and speeches have been released in three new 1996 documents on Climate Files, adding to Raymond’s history as one of the most unrepentant corporate deniers and champions of fossil fuels.  In remarks to the Economic Club of Detroit, Raymond claimed that rising global temperatures had “nothing to do with human activity” and “activists” were “politicizing [climate change] and seeking to stir up all kinds of fears”. See the links below to read more.
1) 1996 Exxon’s Lee Raymond “Energy, The Economy, And The Environment: Moving Forward Together.”
2) 1996 Exxon’s Lee Raymond Speech at API annual meeting.
3) 1996 Exxon’s Lee Raymond European Trip Talking Points. 


1994 Nightline Special “Is Science for Sale?”
Climate Files, Fred Singer, Climate Denial

A 1994, ABC Nightline news broadcast aired a segment titled, “Is Science for Sale”, featuring prominent climate change deniers including Fred SingerRon ArnoldPatrick MichaelsRichard Lindzen, and Sherwood Idso. In interviews, these deniers made statements meant to mislead viewers and question climate science.

The segment also reported the financial ties of its guests, largely comprised of fossil fuel entities, including consulting fees to Fred Singer from Exxon, Shell, ARCO, Unocal and Sun Oil; funding to Patrick Michaels and Sherwood Idso from the coal interest group Western Fuels Association; and support of Ron Arnold’s Wise Use Movement from corporations like Exxon.

Visit Climate Files for a partial transcript and to see the video in full.


1959 Shell “The Earth’s Carbon Cycle” Article
Shell, Climate Files, Climate Change, Climate Denial

This 1959 article by Shell International Chemical Company’s Dr. M. A. Matthews rounds out the history of Royal Dutch Shell’s engagement with climate science. A rebuttal to Dr. Edward Teller’s 1957 address to the American Chemical Society, this piece illustrates the oil industry’s interest in climate change and its potential impacts. Matthews’ awareness of the earth’s carbon cycle and nonchalance toward future fossil consumption is at odds with aspects of documents produced by Shell in the 1980’s and ’90’s.

Posted by Kert Davies