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The lengthy report from the Energy and Policy Institute uses reams of archival documents to demonstrate that utility industry representatives knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels could trigger "catastrophic effects" on the climate.
The report also claims that, despite continued research and consensus on climate throughout the 1970s and 80s, the industry continued to make investments in coal, joined coalitions and lobbying groups to oppose climate action and fund climate denier scientists.
"Nearly 50 years after scientists began to warn the electric utility industry about climate change, some utilities continue to stand in the way of real progress in addressing the problem," the report said.
Dave Anderson, a researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute who uncovered the documents, commented to the Huffington Post about the utility companies:
"The evidence suggests they were very much involved in the deliberate deception [about the dangers of carbon emissions] going on at that time. Scientists had been warning for years that they could be a problem, and by the late 1980s, it was pretty clear there was an emerging consensus among scientists."
For a deeper dive:
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