It’s most interesting to hear that ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by trying to discredit the science behind global warming. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-based nonprofit advocacy group, mirrors similar claims by Britain’s leading scientific academy. Last September, the Royal Society wrote the oil company asking it to halt support for groups that “misrepresented the science of climate change.”
Accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from tailpipes and smokestacks are warming the atmosphere like a greenhouse, melting Arctic sea ice and alpine glaciers and disturbing the lives of animals and plants. ExxonMobil lists on its Web site nearly $133 million in 2005 contributions globally, including $6.8 million for “public information and policy research” distributed to more than 140 “think tanks,” universities, foundations, associations, and other groups. Some of those have publicly disputed the link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. But in September, the company said in response to the Royal Society that it funded groups that research “significant policy issues and promote informed discussion on issues of direct relevance to the company.” Although the powerful oil company says the groups don’t speak for the company, they clearly are attempting to sway public opinion on a most important issue.
Alden Mayer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ strategy and policy director, told the Associated Press that ExxonMobil based its tactics on those of tobacco companies, spreading uncertainty by misrepresenting peer-reviewed scientific studies or cherry-picking facts. It was reported by Associated Press that Dr. James McCarthy, a professor at Harvard University, said Exxon has sought to “create the illusion of a vigorous debate” about global warming. Having dealt with this powerful company, I am not at all surprised to learn that it would mislead folks on important matters.
Source: Associated Press
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