Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How Exxon Spent $15 Million to Create Confusion and Dissent in Global Warming Debate

The Union of Concerned Scientists has published an powerful and compelling report on exactly how Exxon spent $15 Million with dozens of shady organizations appearing to produce legitimate science and policy reports in order to discredit the real science behind global warming. It’s 60-some pages but really impressive in its attention to detail.

Most of the report is focused on the elaborate web of organizations, associations, think-tanks and consultancies Exxon has funded to create the impression that there is a large, heterogeneous group of informed scientists who disagree on the basic facts and theory of anthropogenic climate change.  They have documented a deliberate attempt to manufacture a controversy in science when, in fact, there is none.

It's shocking to see real investigative journalism any more, professional and restrained.  The money trail between Exxon and their paid experts is clearly documented.  Sources are clearly documented in the full text of the report here.

On the other hand, they are SO focused on what has actually happened that they have largely neglected to cover the effects of the disinformation campaign.  In fact, many Americans continue to doubt the basic science underlying AGW and the mainstream media seems rather ill equipped to deal with the deliberate lies and distortions.  "Balanced" reporting requires that you interview so-called "experts" from both sides of an issue. Exxon gets their money's worth because the experts they pay are called all the time and the same guys appear over and over again with the same tired arguments. And for some reason the "liberal media" is compelled to report this fiction as fact.

Is it any surprise that the public has been and is still confused?  Is it "settled science" or not?

At least this report investigates the source of the lingering "debate" and attempts to expose experts paid by Exxon as liars.

1 comment:

  1. This week it was reported in the Times that "more than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming."

    We know that Exxon, for example, is explicitly planning based on scenarios that include climate change: they are planning to take advantage of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice, to reduce the distance their tankers must go to transport oil, for example. Now we know they are "incorporating a price on carbon into their long-term financial plans."

    Why not come out and say that climate change is real, it's already happened, and it's caused by the combustion of fossil fuels?