Talisman funded Friends of Science skeptic film

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Calgary oil company Talisman Energy has been outed as the major funder behind a Friends of Science video series that falsely tried to claim legitimacy by tacking a University of Calgary logo on its opening credits.

Postmedia reporter Mike De Souza has an excellent article in the Calgary Herald, exposing Talisman as the largest donor in a complicated campaign to sluice cash through the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary to finance phony “education” projects. The University has long since distanced itself from the Friends of Science, although it never disciplined Prof. Barry Cooper, the political scientist, climate change skeptic and Calgary Herald columnist who set up the fake U of C Education Fund to launder oil money that was being used to finance climate denial films, radio ads, political advocacy and public campaigns.

But even after exposing all of its own dirty laundry in an audit, the University continued to protect the funders, keeping donors such as Talisman out of their reports. De Souza, to his credit, finally wedged the name loose in a Freedom of Information request.

In an attempt to distance the company from the FOS shenanigans, current Talisman spokester Phoebe Buckland blamed former President James Buckee for supporting the FOS campaign, saying that “Today, Talisman’s position is quite different and Talisman does believe that (greenhouse gas emissions) pose a significant risk to the industry.”

Same old problem, apparently. Talisman is worried about the effect of GHGs on its industry, but still unwilling to stand accountable for its own actions, current and past. Wouldn’t it be charming to hear an oil company spokester say she was concerned about the effect of GHGs on the planet?

Maybe Talisman would like to kick $175,000 into a legitimate climate change education effort. I’m sure the Pembina Institute, the David Suzuki Foundation or the Climate Project Canada could put the money to good use – and in a way that Talisman wouldn’t have to try to deny later on. Hey, maybe there’s an actual scientist at the U of C who would use the money for research, rather than diverting it – as Cooper did – to mislead the public and give family members spending money.

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