To The Daily Sun,
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the nation's most powerful oil lobby and it knew of the dangers of rising CO2 levels in the late 1970s. From 1979 to 1983, it teamed up with Exxon, Mobil, Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio as well as Standard Oil of California and Gulf Oil (now Chevron) to run a task force to monitor and share climate research.
Internal documents uncovered by investigations showed that the energy giants began their own state-of-the-art CO2 sampling program in 1978 to better understand the relationship between its product, increased atmospheric CO2, and climate change.
Like the tobacco companies when they learned the connection between tobacco and cancer, API chose to begin decades of propaganda designed cast doubt on the science and protect profits. That strategy cost Big Tobacco hundreds of billions of dollars in 1998 when they were found guilty of racketeering and fraudulent practices in order to protect the bottom line.
Now there are calls for the same kind of anti-racketeering action against the energy giants who knew of the dangers decades ago but chose to attack science and fund the deniers. The attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, California, and the American Virgin Islands are investigating Exxon to determine if the company deliberately lied to investors, the public, and the government about the threat of climate change.
In the Virgin Islands, the AG has served 90 conservative organizations with subpoenas for internal documents. Those served include the usual suspects: CATO, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, Federalist Society, Hoover Institute, etc. The latest demands from the AG are filed under anti-racketeering laws which may set the stage for a Big-Tobacco-like investigation and trial.
Big Oil and its allies in the denio-sphere aren't going down easy, either. They think the demands violate their constitutional rights. Blah, blah, blah. Hillary Clinton called for a federal probe back in October so this could be big after January.
"They took the environmental unit and put it into the political department, which was primarily lobbyists. They weren't focused on doing research or on improving the oil industry's impact on pollution. They were less interested in pushing the envelope of science and more interested in how to make it more advantageous politically or economically for the oil industry." (James J. Nelson, the former director of the API task force on CO2)
To keep up with this story, go to the Pulitzer-winning site, Inside Climate News, at http://insideclimatenews.org/
Politico is also covering this with a recent article, "Exxon scrambles to contain climate crusade" at http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/exxon-climate-campaign-222920