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Exxon Still Funding Sceptics

global-warming-scepticsDo leopards change their spots? Of course not.

The world’s largest oil company, that has been the leading funder of climate sceptics for a decade, is still continuing to fund the deniers, despite a public promise last year to stop funding organisations that “divert attention”  from the fight against climate change.

Exxon’s latest Corporate Giving report lists a number of right-wing and neo-conservative think tanks that still work to undermine the science of climate change, including the American Council for Capital Formation; American Council on Science and Health, American Enterprise Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, CORE, Heritage Foundation and National Center for Policy Analysis.

The Guardian newspaper has picked up on the story, and it quotes Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the London School of Economics, who has had a run in with Exxon for a number of years over its funding of the sceptics. Ward argues that both the last two organisations on the list, the NCPA and the Heritage Foundation have published “misleading and inaccurate information about climate change.”

On its website, the NCPA says: “NCPA scholars believe that while the causes and consequences of the earth’s current warming trend is [sic] still unknown, the cost of actions to substantially reduce CO2 emissions would be quite high and result in economic decline, accelerated environmental destruction, and do little or nothing to prevent global warming regardless of its cause.”

The Heritage Foundation published a “web memo” in December that said: “Growing scientific evidence casts doubt on whether global warming constitutes a threat, including the fact that 2008 is about to go into the books as a cooler year than 2007”.

Ward, ex-Royal Society, told The Guardian “ExxonMobil has been briefing journalists for three years that they were going to stop funding these groups. The reality is that they are still doing it. If the world’s largest oil company wants to fund climate change denial then it should be upfront about it, and not tell people it has stopped.”

Actually Ward and The Guardian have missed the most telling point in the new Exxon figures. The company has gone better than actually funding climate sceptics groups – it is now funding the climate sceptics directly. Two of the most important and influential climate sceptics are Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, who operate out of the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory. Buried deep in the report is the amazing fact that the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory received some $76,106 from Exxon.

So rather than dropping the funding of sceptic groups, as it said it would, Exxon now directly funds the climate sceptics. Just goes to show that the old saying:  “You can look an oilman in the face, but you can’t believe what comes out of his mouth,” is true today as it ever was.

Comments (6)

  1. JeffM says:

    So Exxon is STILL funding those who disagree with AGW science?

    So what? How bad could it be to find solid research that says AGW isn’t happening?

    If you had your way, it would be illegal for any group other than the government or environmentalists to fund research that might show global warming to be caused by natural forces.

    You aim is to prevent, at all costs, any interference with passage of pro-AGW laws and force your utopian ideals upon the rest of us. For some perverse reason, you WANT AGW to doom the planet, and you don’t want anyone to try and talk you out of it, or show any evidence disproving it.

    So Exxon is STILL funding those who disagree with AGW science? Suffer!

  2. JeffM says:

    How dare anyone other than the government and environmental groups fund research that contradicts mainstream AGW orthodoxy. Even if it was for only 1% or 2% of what government and environmental groups were spending, it is entirely unacceptable, and Exxon is should stop at once.

    There shall be NO challenge to AGW science. Period.

    AGW science has been proven beyond the shadow of doubt. This is a genuine crisis. The government will NOT be deprived of the opportunity to save all of us from manmade global warming.

    In truth, AGW science is so fragile that it cannot survive scrutiny in the light of day, when confronted by alternative science. It makes sense to try and dry up funding sources for skeptical scientists. Attacking Exxon is one attempt to do this. Of this there can be no doubt.

  3. The Guardian’s report completely distorts ExxonMobil’s position on climate change.

    The IPCC’s 4th Assessment report concluded that the risks to society and ecosystems from increases in greenhouse gas emissions are significant. We believe it’s prudent to develop and implement strategies that address these risks, recognizing the central importance of energy to the economies of the world.

    We’ve undertaken research on issues associated with the risk of climate change for more than 25 years, and our work has produced more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed literature.
    Our scientists serve on the IPCC and numerous scientific bodies.

    We’ve also supported major projects at institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the Brookings Institution and Yale University – just to name a few.

    Our goal is to promote discussion on relevant issues and contribute to a wide range of academic and policy organizations. We publish a list of them on our web site at http://exxonmobil.com. These organizations have many financial supporters – and we do not control what these organizations say on a particular issue.

    Bottom-line: We are taking action to address the risk of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research into technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options with NGOs, industry and policy makers.

    Adrienne Fleming, ExxonMobil

  4. cindy baxter says:

    Oh please Adrienne

    For years, your company has said that it doesn’t have anything to do with the policies that are promoted by the climate sceptic conservative think tanks it has poured money into. The same line you’ve run here.

    We all know that isn’t actually true. We know that for several years Exxon’s funding man, Walt Bucholtz, slipped up and actually tagged Exxon’s funding to some of these groups for “climate change efforts” and other climate-related activities. Those “efforts” have been full-on campaigns against the science of climate change.

    We know that Lee Raymond worked DIRECTLY with these organisations, both at the API’s climate change committee and elsewhere. We have documents.

    Then last year Exxon admitted that its funding of those organisations wasn’t helpful – that their campaigns weren’t helpful. Surely you heard about this admission. I’ll remind you. Page 41 of your corporate citizenship report says:

    “in 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy interest groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.”

    Exxon dropped some of the worst and most prominent of these organisations – the ones that ExxonSecrets campaigned on. But your company continues to fund at least 28 organisations who are still campaigning against both climate science and against action on climate change.

    But as a result of this, your company got great media last year, being hailed as having dropped the sceptics. You got all sorts of kudos for dropping 9 organisations and keeping 28.

    Now you’re back to the old spin, back to defending the funding and running the same old, tired (and wrong) argument that Exxon had nothing to do with these campaigns. This is nonsense.

    So please don’t take us for idiots.

    And at least get your spin consistent?

  5. Avenir labs says:

    I read in the post that Oil company continue a fund to the deniers.so i want to known that what would be your next step.and these organizations are well financial supporter or not.

  6. Bob Ward says:

    Dear Adrienne,

    I was interested to see your claim that the article in ‘The Guardian’ “completely distorts” your company’s position.

    But I’m having trouble working out what your company’s position is on the funding of organisations that disseminate misleading and inaccurate information about the causes and consequences of climate change.

    The websites of both the Heritage Foundation and the National Center for Policy Analysis include misleading and inaccurate statements about climate change.

    Yet your company is funding them for “Public information and policy research” in order to “promote informed discussion on issues of direct relevance to the business community and ExxonMobil’s operations”.

    You state that you “do not control what these organizations say on a particular issue”.

    But your company’s website claims: “In recent years, we have discontinued contributions to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change diverted attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.”

    So really, what is your position?