Skip to content
Grist home
All gifts matched

Climate Language


On February 22, 1989, Duane LeVine, Exxon’s manager of science and strategy, gave a presentation to the company’s board of directions. Governments around the world had banded together to save the ozone layer by phasing out chemicals used in aerosol sprays and refrigerators, LeVine said. And fossil fuels could be targeted next. 

It was a pivotal moment: Seven months before, during an unusually hot summer, James Hansen, then director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, had warned Congress that the signs of global warming were already upon us, making the issue front-page news across the country. By the end of the year, politicians had introduced 32 climate bills in Congress, and the United Nations had established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists and policymakers intended to put global climate policy in motion.

In light of these developments, LeVine advised Exxon to temper the public’s growing concern for the planet with “rational responses” — not only arguing that the science wasn’t settled, but also emphasizing the “costs and political realities” of addressing rising emissions. In other w... Read more

All Stories