This article from Scientific American explains the extent of Exxon's knowledge about carbon emissions and climate change in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Students will learn about the investigation into Exxon and the steps the company took after completing their own research on global ocean and air temperatures.
This article lays out a strong argument regarding Exxon's knowledge of climate change and how their product negatively impacts the environment.
Students will gain an understanding of the historical and environmental implications of Exxon's actions.
Students should understand the role fossil fuels play in climate change.
This article could be used in social studies classes that are discussing how individual and collective choices can impact humanity.
Economics and civics classes could use this article for a discussion or project about industries or businesses that pollute air, water, or land in indiscriminate ways and how to account for these externalities.
Try using this article as a resource in a debate about if fossil fuel companies should be liable for the environmental damages resulting from the carbon emissions from their products.
Create a class timeline using the board and sticky notes. Have students add events to the timeline as you read about them. Once the article and timeline are complete, have a class discussion reflecting on your findings.
This article discusses controversy surrounding Exxon Mobile, their knowledge of anthropogenic climate change, and how they allegedly promoted climate misconceptions to protect their business. The article does include quotes and information from scientists, and statements from Exxon Mobile leaders. It also briefly touches on the common comparison of this situation to that of the tobacco companies in the past (for more information on this, check out the documentary Merchants of Doubt). This resource is a good way to discuss climate myths and misinformation, as well as the importance of checking sources for biases and conflicts of interest. The information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Economics
D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.