Ocasio-Cortez: Exxon Mobil 'knew exactly what it was doing'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders says Ocasio-Cortez will play a 'very important role' in his administration if he's elected Top Sanders adviser suggests polling underestimates campaign support Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down MORE (D-N.Y.) said that energy company Exxon Mobil knew about climate change in the 1970s at a speech given during Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE's (I-Vt.) Iowa climate change summit.

The freshman congresswoman then asserted that after the company found out about the effects of fossil fuels on the climate, it funneled resources into a campaign to sow seeds of doubt into public opinion. 

"Exxon Mobil knew exactly what it was doing and exactly what was going to happen in the 1970s," Ocasio-Cortez said.

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"What they did is that they had an inkling that carbon emissions could increase global temperatures to unsustainable levels ... due to the burning of fossil fuels. They knew this. They had that inkling," she added. "So they dumped tons of money in scientific studies in the 1970s."

"We interviewed and we questioned the scientists ourselves. They had models going back decades," the progressive lawmaker continued. 

She then asked the crowd whether Exxon Mobil changed its models, changed its business or raised alarms. The crowd shouted back, "No." 

"They dumped millions of dollars into lobbying a campaign of doubt," Ocasio-Cortez said. "That is exactly why we have to acknowledge that the climate crisis is not an accident."

"The reason we are in this crisis is because oil and gas has been one of the most profitable industries of the modern era," she added. 

Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year introduced Green New Deal legislation to combat climate change, and last month, she endorsed Sanders's presidential campaign at a rally in New York. Sanders has made climate change a key issue on the campaign trail along with universal health care. 

The Hill has reached out to Exxon Mobil for comment. 

The Vermont senator is among more than a dozen people running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.