When we think about climate change, many of us have a sense that it’s everyone’s fault. We think there’s no individual to blame for the fact that the Atlantic Ocean is taking up residency in people’s homes — that it’s just the system. It’s every one of us who drives a car or turns on a light switch or eats a hamburger. But while it is true that most of us (Americans) contribute enough greenhouse emissions to kill a polar bear or two, there are some standout climate villains. And one stands out further than perhaps all others: Exxon.

An investigation by InsideClimate News found that Exxon knew decades ago that burning fossil fuels would heat up the planet, long before “global warming” became part of our lexicon. Reporters spent eight months combing through archives and interviewing scientists and federal officials, and discovered systematic efforts by the company to suppress climate action over the course of decades.

Here’s a description of an Exxon meeting from way back in 1977:

At a meeting in Exxon Corporation’s headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.