In 1998, representatives from a number of fossil fuel companies and industry front groups, led by the American Petroleum Institute, gathered to craft a plan to undermine the American public’s understanding of climate science, and submarine any chances of the United States ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.
Weeks after the private meeting, an eight page memo including a draft “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan” was leaked and reported by The New York Times, exposing the group’s plan to create public doubt about climate science.
When contacted at the time, industry representatives who were in the room claimed that the plan was “very, very tentative,” and emphasized that none of the groups represented at the meeting had officially agreed to do or fund anything further.
And over the years, whenever members of the then-called “Global Climate Science Communications Team” were asked about the plan, they have repeated that the plan was long ago abandoned.
Yet, as fellow DeSmogBlog contributor Graham Readfearn explained today in a must-read article in The Guardian, practically every key element of the “Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan,” as laid out in the leaked 1998 memo, was executed in some form in the years following the meeting.
Using research from the Climate Investigations Center and DeSmogBlog, Readfearn follows up on all of the plan’s stated goals, strategies, and tactics. You can find an annotated version of the 1998 memo, with “then and now” updates on the careers of the team, on Document Cloud.