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Tue May 18, 2021, 09:00 PM

Feel like fixing the climate crisis is your responsibility? ExxonMobil has been telling you that


Feel like fixing the climate crisis is your personal responsibility? ExxonMobil has been telling you that for 20 years, a study found.

When Naomi Oreskes lectures about climate change, she gets the same question over and over again.

"A member of the audience will say: 'Well, what can I personally do? What can I do as an individual to fix this problem?'" Oreskes, a science historian at Harvard University, told Insider. "Much less frequently do they say: 'What can we do about the way the fossil fuel industry is blocking policy action?'"

It's a common idea: That the best way to fight climate change is by making changes in your own life — using less energy, eating less meat, driving less, flying less. But according to Oreskes and her colleague, Geoffrey Supran, a key source of this sentiment is a set of communications campaigns from ExxonMobil.

The researchers' latest analysis indicates that the oil giant started blaming the climate crisis on consumers two decades ago. In a study published last week, Supran and Oreskes analyzed 180 ExxonMobil documents discussing climate change from 1977 to 2014. The set includes internal communications, peer-reviewed publications, and "advertorials" — advertisements fashioned to look like editorials and published in The New York Times op-ed section.

Around the year 2000, the researchers found, a new trend emerged in the company's public-facing communications. The advertisements began to focus on how consumers use energy.

"Be smart about electricity use," one 2007 advertorial suggested, continuing: "Heat and cool your home efficiently." "Improve your gas mileage." "Check your home's greenhouse gas emissions."

Focusing on how consumers power their homes and cars, Oreskes and Supran argue, helps ExxonMobil "downplay" its role in extracting and burning the fossil fuels that are filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and raising global temperatures. It places both the blame and the responsibility for solving the problem onto individuals.

It's all about messaging. Deflecting. Propaganda.

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Reply Feel like fixing the climate crisis is your responsibility? ExxonMobil has been telling you that (Original post)
erronis May 18 OP
Kaleva May 18 #1
regnaD kciN May 18 #2

Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 09:13 PM

1. Almost impossible to fix it. Best people can do is prepare to adapt.

"Reducing emissions alone won’t stop climate change: new research"


" Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, global warming would continue to happen for at least several more decades, if not centuries. That’s because it takes a while for the planet (for example, the oceans) to respond, and because carbon dioxide – the predominant heat-trapping gas – lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years."


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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue May 18, 2021, 09:41 PM

2. Not unlike how, when Republican policies send us into yet another recession...

...the narrative becomes "we're all responsible for the mess we're in, and so we all have to bear the burden of getting out of it." (And, of course, by "all," they mean "you."

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