Exxon Mobil misled the public about climate change for years even as its research echoed the growing scientific consensus that global warming is real and caused by human activity, a new study finds.
The conclusion is based on a study by two Harvard University researchers, who used social science methods to compare what Exxon Mobil said in nearly 200 scientific publications and internal communications on climate change with what they presented in three dozen advertisements over 15 years, CNBC reported.
The researchers' takeaway is that the more publicly available advertisements sowed doubt that climate change is real and caused by humans, while the scientific studies and private exchanges more openly acknowledged that scientific fact.
"We conclude that Exxon Mobil contributed to advancing climate science — by way of its scientists' academic publications — but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that Exxon Mobil misled the public," the researchers wrote.