Calls by environmental activist groups have increased in recent weeks for a federal investigation into whether ExxonMobil hid information about climate change to deliberately mislead the public. Exxon is known to have in conducted such research in previous decades.

There’s a petition calling for the Justice Department to investigate ExxonMobil for conducting research which indicated that climate change was real and caused by human use of fossil fuels. Company scientists openly wrote about the risks of carbon emissions.

“Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” wrote Exxon scientist James F. Black in 1978.

In the early 90s, scientist and engineers associated with Exxon said that global warming, in this case, caused by carbon emissions, “will clearly affect sea ice, icebergs, permafrost, and sea levels.” The company was concerned because such changes could affect future prospects of Arctic drilling.

If found to have hidden this type of information, ExxonMobil could be held liable, similar to cases against Big Tobacco, in which cigarette companies conducted research about the link between tobacco use and cancer and hid it from the public.

For more on this story, visit AllGov.comExxonMobil Accused of Deceiving Public on Climate Change Risks to Protect Profits”

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced