Tracing Big Oil's PR War to Delay Action on Climate Change

September 28, 2021
Tracing Big Oil's PR War to Delay Action on Climate Change

Harvard researchers chart evolution from denial to misdirection as House inquiry widens

By Alvin Powell, The Harvard Gazette

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee earlier this month widened its inquiry into the oil industry’s role in fostering doubt about the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change. A letter from the panel to Darren Woods, ExxonMobil chief executive, said lawmakers were “concerned that to protect … profits, the industry has reportedly led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change.” The Gazette spoke with Geoffrey Supran, a research fellow in the History of Science, who, together with Naomi Oreskes, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, published a series of studies in recent years, the most recent one in May, on the climate communications of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies.

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