Great blog by the Antipodean scourge of the oil industry, Cindy Baxter yesterday on the Exxon Secrets website. Cindy, who remains one of a committed half-dozen sceptic watchers, had been reading Exxon’s latest Corporate Citizenship report.
Buried deep in the report she spotted that Exxxon has admitted – for the first time – that the climate sceptics it funds are causing problems for action on climate change. This is a first for the company which has spent, since 1998, $23 million funding the climate denial industry.
The statement reads: “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.”
As Cindy says: “Could divert attention”? We award Exxon a special prize for the Understatement of the Year. The denial industry can be held responsible for the US’s failure to act on climate. And Exxon has been at the heart of it for more than a decade.”
But before we get too excited, even cutting the funding from nine such groups, means Exxon is still only funding 28 sceptics or deniers.
For years Exxon gained political advantage by funding these groups. But now the debate has swung so far against them, that they have effectively lost the argument. Exxon can’t dump all the groups in one go – it would be seen as too much of a defeat so it’s a clever strategy by Exxon – to slowly disassociate itself with the most rapid deniers, but still fund a whole host of others.