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“Early oil industry disinformation on global warming”

January 9, 2021

Author(s): Dr. Benjamin Franta


Determining the onset of organized disinformation about global warming is critical for understanding its political history and evaluating the responsibilities of fossil fuel producers and other relevant parties today. A newly discovered archival document shows the American Petroleum Institute was promulgating false and misleading information about climate change in 1980, nearly a decade earlier than previously known, in order to promote public policies favorable to the fossil fuel industry. This finding demonstrates early use of public-facing disinformation about global warming by the petroleum industry and suggests commercial fossil fuel interests played a more obstructive role in climate change discourse and policy throughout the 1980s than previously understood.