Exxon knew — and so did coal

“Exxon knew.” Thanks to the work of activists and journalists, those two words have rocked the politics of climate change in recent years, as investigations revealed the extent to which giants like ExxonMobil and Shell were aware of the danger of rising greenhouse gas emissions even as they undermined the work of scientists.

But the coal industry knew, too — as early as 1966, a newly unearthed journal shows.

James R. Garvey, who was the president of Bituminous Coal Research Inc., a now-defunct coal mining and processing research organization wrote in a 1966 edition of the industry publication Mining Congress Journal.

“There is evidence that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing rapidly as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels,” wrote Garvey. “If the future rate of increase continues as it is at the present, it has been predicted that, because the CO2 envelope reduces radiation, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase and that vast changes in the climates of the earth will result.”

“Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London,” he continued.

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