More than 1,000 internal documents from the fossil fuel industry illustrating strategies to cast doubt on climate science and delay policy action are now available for public research in UCSF’s Industry Documents Library. The documents, which were collected over two decades by the Climate Investigations Center, include internal memos, reports, correspondence and scientific studies from major fossil fuel corporations and related organizations which detail the industry’s research and reaction to anthropogenic climate change beginning in the 1950s to the present.
“This inaugural Fossil Fuel Industry documents collection marks the beginning of what we hope will grow into a comprehensive living archive to aid us in making sense of drivers of climate change and its unprecedented long-term threats to human and environmental health,” says Dr. Yogi Hendlin, Research Associate with the UCSF Environmental Health Initiative, Assistant Professor at the Erasmus School of Philosophy and Core Faculty for the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
The documents will be preserved for long-term public access and can be searched alongside the Industry Documents Library’s existing collections of 15 million documents from the tobacco, drug, chemical, and food industries allowing users to examine information related to industry-funded scientific research, marketing, and public relations strategies, and influence on policies and regulations affecting public health.
The library collects internal documents made available through public document disclosure in litigation, public records requests, archival files, and research investigation.
The Industry Documents Library was created at the University of California, San Francisco in 2002 to house millions of pages of documents produced during litigation against the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Evidence found in the documents was used by dozens of state Attorneys General to hold tobacco companies accountable for the public health crisis caused by smoking and to negotiate the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998. More than seven million visitors have accessed the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents since they were made publicly available by the UCSF Library and the collections have been instrumental in furthering tobacco control research and education for over a generation. The Industry Documents Library has expanded to include documents from the drug, chemical, food, and now fossil fuel industries to preserve open access to this information and to support research on the commercial determinants of public health.
A variety of online research tools are available for navigating the collections, including full-text searching, a detailed bibliography, and access to the API for building and analyzing large data sets. The Library is committed to preserving and providing long-term public access to industry documents for the benefit of scientists, community advocates, journalists, policymakers, attorneys, and others engaged in improving and protecting the public’s health.