How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change research

Throughout much of the 1980s, Exxon earned a public reputation as a pioneer in climate change research. It sponsored workshops, funded academic research and conducted its own high-tech experiments exploring the science behind global warming.

But by 1990, the company, in public, took a different posture.

While still funding select research, it poured millions into a campaign that questioned climate change. Over the next 15 years, it took out prominent ads in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, contending climate change science was murky and uncertain. And it argued regulations aimed at curbing global warming were ill-considered and premature.

How did one of the world’s largest oil companies, a leader in climate research, become one of its biggest public skeptics?

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