Two Harvard researchers have just released a study made on the facts that Exxon published in newspapers for advertising purposes. The oil and natural resources organization has reportedly made “explicit factual misrepresentations” by suggesting that climate change is not a threat at all.
Harvard Researchers Found that Most Exxon’s Internal Documents Highlight the Veracity of Climate Change
The journal Environmental Research Letters has just published a peer-reviewed study on Wednesday that analyzed several Exxon statements. The authors Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran claimed that they investigated 187 documents that Exxon scientists used to inform their public on latest scientific discoveries from 1977 to 2014.
These had various forms such as company pamphlets, peer-reviewed studies or internal documents. Some of these claims were used for native advertising. This strategy implies writing opinion articles that hide marketing strategies to the benefit of Exxon.
“We conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public.”
What the two Harvard researchers found is that internal documents presented a different view from public papers. Around 80% of Exxon’s internal memos indicated that climate change is a real phenomenon that humans accelerated. By comparison, only 12% of published advertorials highlighted this view. About 81% of Exxon’s ads presented doubt regarding this controversial topic.
It Was Rockefeller Family that Supported the Peer-Reviewed Study Financially
On the other hand, the Harvard study did not undermine Exxon to a company that denies climate science. However, its findings divulged schemes to present the question marks that the scientific world has about climate change instead of delivering proved facts about it. Therefore, the public mostly read misleading articles that planted doubt in their minds.
The study received support from the Rockefeller family philanthropies. The same groups invested in other efforts to uncover that Exxon executives knew more about climate change than they publicly admitted. This particular campaign became recognizable by hashtag #ExxonKnew.
On the other hand, Exxon spokesperson Scott Silvestri responded to these findings by defending Exxon. He stated that the study was just a tool that activists created to undermine the company in the eyes of its shareholders. He emphasized the fact that all Exxon’s public claims are in alignment with the beliefs of the executives.
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