Exxon still funding Climate Change Deniers

Feature story - May 18, 2007
So. The day of reckoning has come – when we get to find out just how much of the climate change denial industry ExxonMobil (aka Esso) is still paying for.

Culture jamming the Esso logo at the entrance to a large station near the Germany-Luxembourg border in Wasserbillig.

This is the company which, apparently, has been "misunderstood" onglobal warming and in February of this year claimed it had dropped itsfunding of the deniers. 

The ExxonSecretspeople have gone through the documents, and found a clear answer: last year Exxon spent US$2.1 million  on 41 groups who are leadingthe climate sceptic industry.

While the company has beenforced to drop the hottest potato of them all, the CompetitiveEnterprise Institute (CEI) and another particularly vocal denier, Steve "Junk Science" Milloy,  the rest of them are still on the payroll.

Likewho? The Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the George CMarshall Institute, the American Enterprise Institute... all the groupswho've been at the heart of the climate change denial industry for morethan a decade.   

These include the groups who were listed in a 1998 American Petroleum Institute memo outlining a communications strategy for taking down the Kyoto Protocol.

Exxon is pumping out lies

So despite its protestations, the company is still running the sceptic industry. What else is Exxon not telling us? 

ExxonSecrets has obtained the company's Exxon Foundation 2005 report to the IRS.Exxon told the IRS that that it funded 14 groups specifically for theirclimate change work. But somehow the company didn't mention this inpublic.

Exxon has always been quick to point out that it justgives these groups general funding and doesn't tell them what to do orhow to spend the money.

But giving money to the Frontiers ofFreedom for their "climate change efforts" seems pretty specific.Especially when those "efforts" included an eight-page report dedicated entirely to questioning global warming science, policy and attacking Al Gore. 

"Thetruth is, there is no conclusive or reliable scientific proof that thesky is falling or that Earth's climate is experiencing cataclysmicwarming caused by man's activities," says Frontiers for Freedom. Lastyear Exxon rewarded these efforts with a US$180,000 grant, up fromUS$80,000 the year before.

Another is the George C MarshallInstitute, whose CEO William O'Keefe (former American PetroleumInstitute officer and registered ExxonMobil lobbyist) recently referredto the April 2007 ruling by the US Supreme Court (that the EPA has theauthority to regulate carbon dioxide) as "a triumph of judicialactivism…ideology… political science" by a court that "may have beentoo influenced by political correctness and climate orthodoxy." The institute got US$85,000 from Exxon in 2006.

This company hasnow funded the climate change denial industry to the tune of US$22million since 1998. Last  year the UK's prestigious scientificbody, the Royal Society,wrote to Exxon asking them to stop funding the groups who were"misinforming the public about the science of climate change". Exxonindicated to the Royal Society that they had - and they would. InFebruary this year Exxon did a big public relations round of the media,saying it had been "misunderstood" on climate change and gave the clearindication that it had dropped its funding of the climate scepticindustry. 

"Exxon softens its stance on climate change"screamed the headlines. But very little has changed, except Exxon's PRmachine. It's been business as usual at the Dallas HQ, no matter whatthey said in public. 

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