BP #12 Exxon withheld info on climate change

According to documents released by an activist organization called the Center for International Environmental Law, suggest that the energy industry had knowledge of climate change up to 60 years ago. Exxon apparently knew about rising CO2 in the atmosphere and believed that it was likely to cause climate change. The documents also showed that the industry was beginning to organize to fight regulation of air pollution. The energy industry created a group to monitor and conduct pollution research, and this group also would prevent environmental regulation that they believed was unnecessary and hasty. While the oil industry denies any prior knowledge of climate change, the activist organization says that “It has been known for years that the Scientist in that era were talking about climate change.”

One of the ethical problems in this situation is whether or not Exxon actually knew about the dangers of climate change and was lying. While deception in sales is m orally wrong, withholding information may not be ethically wrong. If they believed that climate change was a realistic possibility, yet denied it to the public in order to make them believe that climate change wasn’t possible, that is defined as lying and is wrong. However if their intent wasn’t malicious; like if they realistically didn’t believe their was any significant consequences to increased CO2 pollution, they are not doing anything morally wrong. According to Carson’s Ethics of sales, he uses a similar method as Kant’s Universal Law Formulation to guide how a salesperson should behave. He says to act only in a way you would want another salesperson to act towards you. in this case, I believe most salespeople would want to know about the dangers of climate change. If Exxon actually had evidence that increased CO2 emissions had a real possibility of causing environmental problems, they should have informed their customers (the general public).

 

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