eXXon caught with fingers crossed, new report

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Despite ExxonMobil’s denials, a report released today by Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets.org project, reveals that the largest oil company in the world continues to spend millions on a stealth public relations campaign aimed at discrediting global warming science.

According to the report, Exxon provided $2.1 million in 2006 to 41 “think” tanks and associations that actively sow doubt about the realities of climate change. Since 1998, ExxonMobil has spent a staggering $23 million on this climate disinformation.

ExxonSecret’s report titled: ExxonMobil’s Continued Funding of Global Warming Denial Industry (attached), will easily withstand criticism by those who want to dismiss this as a conspiracy theory. Check out the 1998 communications plan (in the attached report, Denial and Deception) outlining the beginnings of the entire undertaking by Exxon-funded organizations.

While the ExxonMobil climate change confusion campaign continues, the company has recently come under heavy-fire from members of the scientific community and US legislators. In September, 2006, the prestigious London Royal Society sent a letter (pdf) to ExxonMobil urging them to discontinue such activities. The letter states:

At our meeting in July, I also told you of my concerns about the support ExxonMobil has been giving to organisations that have been misinforming the public about the science of climate change. You indicated that ExxonMobil would not be providing any further funding to these organisations.”

In January of this year the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report titled, Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air: How ExxonMobil uses Big Tobacco tactics to manufacture uncertainty on climate science.(pdf version here)

In October, 2006 U.S. Senators Rockefeller and Snowe sent a letter to Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson stating:

We are convinced that ExxonMobil’s longstanding support of a small cadre of global climate change skeptics, and those skeptics’ access to and influence on government policymakers, have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy.”

Since then, Exxon has tried to soften its hard-line stance on global warming. The Wall Street Journal reported in January, 2007 that:

… Exxon decided in late 2005 not to fund for 2006 Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and ‘five or six’ other groups active in the global warming debate.”

The ExxonSecret report shows those groups are presumably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Environmental Literacy Council, Free Enterprise Education Institute the Center for a New Europe USA and the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise.

At the DAVOS Conference this year Forbes Magazine said of CEO Rex Tillerson that:

On carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and their impact on global warming he [Rex Tillerson] said: ‘It is clear that something is going on. It is not useful to debate the issue any longer.”

The report out today proves what DSBlog and many others have long suspected: Exxon is happy to spin this issue, but not act in good faith. The company says that it believes humans are causing climate change, but still doesn’t want you to believe it.Exxon says that it believes humans are causing climate change, but the company still doesn’t want you to believe it.

ExxonMobil is the richest company in the history of companies, yet it can’t seem to find the money to diversify its operations away from full fossil-fuel dependency. It’s no wonder they don’t want people to embrace sensible (and affordable) climate change policy.

While still a difficult issue, scientists are telling us that it can be beat with existing technology and minimal investment.

The first step is a well-informed – and honest – public debate about what we need to do to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

On the honest part, especially, Exxon is not helping.

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