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 is still paying for.

This is the company which, apparently, has been "misunderstood" on global warming and has said it has dropped its funding of the deniers. 

The ExxonSecrets people have gone through the documents, and found a clear answer:  last year Exxon spent $2.1 million on 41 groups who are leading the climate skeptic industry.

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

Like who?  The Heartland Institute,  the Heritage Foundation, the George C Marshall Institute, the American Enterprise Institute… all the groups who've been at the heart of the climate change denial industry for more than 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.

So despite its protestations, the company is still running the skeptic industry.

So 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 their climate change work.  But somehow the company didn't mention this in public.

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

But giving money to the Frontiers of Freedom 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. 

"The truth is, there is no conclusive or reliable scientific proof that the sky is falling or that Earth's climate is experiencing cataclysmic warming caused by man's activities," says Frontiers for Freedom. Last year Exxon rewarded these efforts with a $180,000 grant, up from $80,000 the year before.

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

This company has now funded the climate change denial industry to the tune of $22 million since 1998.  Last  year the UK's prestigious scientific body, the Royal Society,  wrote to Exxon asking them to stop funding the groups who were "misinforming the public about the science of climate change".  Exxon indicated to the Royal Society that they had - and they would. In February this year Exxon did a big public relations round of the media, saying it had been "misunderstood" on climate change and gave the clear indication that it had dropped its funding of the climate skeptic industry. 

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

Take Action

Mr. Michael Boskin is on the ExxonMobil Board. He chairs the company's Public Issues committee. Given that the company has been less than transparent about the climate sceptic groups it is funding - it's definitely a "public issue" for Exxonmobil. Ask Mr Boskin to get Exxon to come clean and drop the skeptics!

Contact him now

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