Oh, What a Tangled Web...

Feature story - June 17, 2004
The secret's out! Climate skeptics funded by ExxonMobil can no longer hide behind front groups. Our new website, www.exxonsecrets.org, exposes the links between ExxonMobil money and the think tanks, associations and individuals denying global warming. The next time you read a story that says climate change is all smoke and mirrors, visit www.exxonsecrets.org and search for the organization or person being quoted. There's a good chance that ExxonMobil money has paid up front for that front group.

With names like "The Cato Institute," "The Heritage Foundation," "Frontiers of Freedom Institute" and "Tech Central Station," they go by independent sounding labels.

You would imagine their opinions are unbiased and impartial. You might assume they are balanced and neutral.

But if you did, you'd be wrong.

These and many other think tanks, which have names designed to hide their real agenda, are putting forward opinions denying or debasing the science behind global warming. And they are getting funding from the fossil fuel industry which is causing the problem.

When these groups talk to media they don't like to mention who funds them. They want the media to believe that they are independent commentators. So journalists are often left with the wrong impression - and so is the public.

ExxonMobil, also known as Esso or Mobil is the world's biggest oil company. It has plenty of money and is not afraid of using it to fund pseudo-science and front groups to shoot down anyone speaking out about global warming. Since 1998 ExxonMobil has spent more than US$12million on climate sceptics.

Greenpeace, with the assistance of the web designers who developed http://www.theyrule.net/ has developed a website that shows the links between Exxon money and some of the loudest climate skeptics being quoted in the media.

Exxonsecrets.org includes dossiers and fact sheets for each organization and person with a description, history, staff bios, quotes, deeds and hidden affiliations.

Designed as a tool for journalists, researchers, policy makers and anyone who wants to get down to the facts, this freely accessible site can be used to research the links between climate skeptic groups and how much funding they get from ExxonMobil. Searches can be made on organizations and individuals, cross referencing automatically with other groups and individuals. If you thought the "Six Degrees of Separation" game was fun, have a go at tracing the money trail from the skeptics back to Exxon. It doesn't take long to get there.

Of course you don't have to take our word for it. The site is fully referenced so anyone can cross check our sources - existing websites and downloadable documents, Exxon annual reports and other publicly available materials.

The next time you read a story in the press or online that says climate change is all smoke and mirrors, visit www.exxonsecrets.org and search for the organization or person being quoted. There's a good chance that ExxonMobil money has paid up front for that front group.

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