An oil-industry spin doctor is probably not high on peoples’ list of trustworthy people. Probably ranking even lower than real estate agents, journalists and politicians.

So you should always take what they say with a large does of salt….especially when the spin doctor works for Exxon.

Remember when they said that Prince William Sound was healthy after the Exxon Valdez spill, whilst all around everyone else had conclusive proof of the unmitigated ecological catastrophe.

Remember the way the company has obfuscated the truth over climate and pouted tens of millions of dollars into funding climate sceptics. Remember how Exxon has been an influencial force in Bush’s intransigence on the issue. Remember that it still funds many climate sceptics

So it may come as a surprise to many that the company’s global spokesman Kenneth Cohen, now says that Exxon never doubted the risk from climate change in the past decade.

According to Cohen, Exxon has simply firmed up, or “evolved”, its understanding of the threat, said Cohen, the company’s head of public affairs. “We’re very much not a denier, very much at the table with our sleeves rolled up,” Cohen told reporters.

Although Exxon still funds climate sceptic groups, Cohen argues that Exxon only ever funded such groups because they were against the Kyoto Protocol and not because they cast doubt on climate change. “We started funding a number of these groups because we were opposed to the Kyoto Protocol. We were slow to stop funding.”

Exxon could terminate its support of more groups, Cohen added — “It’s a question we’re asking ourselves,” he said.

It’s a question your critics have been asking for over a decade….