By: Josh Gabbatiss of The Independent
Oil giant Shell was aware of the consequences of climate change, and the role fossil fuels were playing in it, as far back as 1988, documents unearthed by a Dutch news organisation have revealed.
They include a calculation that the oil company’s products alone were responsible for 4 per cent of total global carbon emissions in 1984.
They also predict that changes to sea levels and weather would be “larger than any that have occurred over the past 12,000 years”.
As a result, the documents foresee impacts on living standards, food supplies and other major social, political and economic consequences.
In The Greenhouse Effect, a 1988 internal report by Shell scientists, the authors warned that “by the time the global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilise the situation”.
They also acknowledged that many experts predicted an increase in global temperature would be detectable by the end of the century.
They went on to state that a “forward-looking approach by the energy industry is clearly desirable”, adding: “With the very long time scales involved, it would be tempting for society to wait until then before doing anything.
“The potential implications for the world are, however, so large that policy options need to be considered much earlier. And the energy industry needs to consider how it should play its part.”