Exxon and the 1970s climate predictions that were ignored | Letters

You make much of the fact that Exxon predicted climate change accurately in the 1970s ands 80s (Revealed: Exxon made ‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s, 12 January). But so did many other credible scientists at the time, in public; Exxon’s wretched denial of the crisis doesn’t absolve the rest of us. Those who could have acted for change when it would have been cheap and easy – especially politicians with short electoral cycles, but perhaps also journalists – chose to disbelieve or focus elsewhere. This is still largely the case. Although there’s lots of talk now, action to date has been pretty ineffectual: the steady rises in atmospheric CO2 levels continue, essentially unaffected so far by any climate agreement or action.
Dr Kimon Roussopoulos

I was in my late teens in the 1970s when Exxon was making its predictions about climate change, and I joined Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Green party to try to make a difference. My own family was not convinced and called me a daft tree-hugger. Most media outlets took the same stance. Anyone, including academics, who wanted to start a meaningful debate was shouted down and labelled foolish.

While many of us were aware of the dangers of global heating back then, no one would listen. It was harder without social media. We had a letter-writing campaign to politicians, local and national, to the media and to anyone we felt could get this information out there, but we came up against a brick wall. If people had listened to us, we could have been 40-plus years ahead with green technology, and who knows how much better that would have been for our planet.
Lynn Malpas
Stalybridge, Greater Manchester


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