There is a classic industry public relations tactic called the 3 technique – Deny, Delay and Dominate. For years Exxon has pursued this strategy over climate change very aggressively.
The company has denied for years that climate change is a problem or even man-made, and by so doing it has delayed any action. One of the key ways its has done this is by funding forty or so right wing think tanks who have done its dirty work for it. These groups have consistently tried to undermine any action on climate change.
Well it now seems that Exxon is moving to the last “D” in the list as its strategy of delaying becomes increasingly untenable. Although the company still tries to highlight the uncertaintiaes in climate science, it is stopping funding many of the influential right-wing think tanks that have led the climate change denial work, such as the Comeptitive Enterprise Institute. Instead it is increasingly turning its attention to trying to dominate what action will happen on climate and influence the regulation on any climate legislation.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that “Exxon has cut off funding to a handful” of the groups it has been funding. “In one of the strongest signs yet that U.S. industry anticipates government curbs on global-warming emissions, Exxon Mobil Corp., long a leading opponent of such rules, is starting to talk about how it would like them to be structured”.
“Exxon, said the paper, “is meeting in Washington with officials of other large corporations to discuss what form the companies would prefer a possible U.S. carbon regulation to take … The question is what kind of action. The economic reality is that some companies will win from a carbon constraint and some companies will lose, depending on how the regulation is written”.
Article cited: Jeffrey Ball, “Exxon Softens Climate-Change Stance – Hoping to Shape Policy, Oil Giant Joins Dialogue On Curbing of Emissions”, The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2007; pA2