Researchers at two auto giant American companies have discovered scientists knew the environmental effects of car emissions back in the 1960s.
According to E&E News, researchers at both General Motors and Ford Motor Co. found strong evidence in the 1960s and ’70s that human activity was warming the Earth. A primary culprit was the burning of fossil fuels, which released large quantities of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that could trigger the melting of polar ice sheets and other dire consequences.
“Another cog in the climate denial machine rattles loose,” says Harvard University climate denial researcher Geoffrey Supran. Supran is co-director of the Climate Social Science Network and a research associate in Harvard’s Department of the History of Science. He investigates the history of climate politics—particularly the communications, denial, and delay tactics of fossil fuel interests—alongside professor Naomi Oreskes, who also highlighted the revelations, reports Common Dreams.
“There was never any doubt for a minute”, former GM scientist Ruth Reck says of her pioneering climate science research in the 1960s.— Geoffrey Supran (@GeoffreySupran) October 26, 2020
Yet that didn’t stop the company attacking that very science decades later.
“The PR people use…weasel words to misrepresent things.” https://t.co/9E45Q7g0Tp
In the decades that have followed the 1960s, both companies have done little to nothing to act on the knowledge that their products are making the planet warm. They continued to focus on and invest in fossil-fuel burning vehicles and continue to donate money to groups that deny climate change as a human-made issue.
“Joselow’s exposé (published at E&E News) is based on nearly five months of reporting as well as documents on GM from the General Motors Heritage Center and Wayne State University in Detroit, documents on Ford’s climate research unearthed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and additional materials on both manufacturers provided by the Climate Investigations Centers,” writes Common Dreams author Jessica Corbett.
Spokespeople at both companies have responded to these findings and have publicly recognized the reality of human-caused climate change. Both auto giants have also shared their efforts and commitment to reducing emissions. But climate activists groups and environmentalists are still outraged by this new research.
“There is nothing we can say about events that happened one or two generations ago since they are irrelevant to the company’s positions and strategy today,” sats a GM spokesman.
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