Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Royal v. Oil

There are a couple of interesting stories up today regarding the funding of groups that are in the business of denying climate change. Bet you didn't even know that was a business. Well, it is.

First up, the UK's leading scientific academy, The Royal Society, has written a letter to ExxonMobil asking the most profitable company on the planet to please stop funding groups that deny climate change. I can't imagine that this will be terribly successful and for two reasons. One, ExxonMobile has been behind the creation of these groups and they fund them specifically to deny climate change. The real goal is create the appearance that there is some "doubt" about the scientific consensus regarding the science of climate and climate change. It is much like the efforts we've seen regarding the teaching of evolution. In fact, at least one tactic echoes the Intelligent Design claims about evolution by claiming that there are "gaps in the scientific basis."

Two, ExxonMobile has gone to some considerable lengths to distance themselves from these groups, creating a rather elaborate network in the process. It hasn't worked too well, though, because everyone knows ExxonMobile funds these clowns. The groups claim to have some "independent" stature when, in fact, just the opposite is true. But ExxonMobile is not about to admit these groups are frauds and usually stand by these groups claims that they are the ones doing the "sound science." Oddly, Bob Ward indicates that ExxonMobile pledged that it would cease such funding activities, though no one knows whether this has happened or not. My guess is ... not.

Which brings us to the other article that really is a must read. George Monbiot has piece up about this very thing; the funding of climate change deniers. But the intriguing aspect of Monbiot's piece is that he traces the origins of science denial to Big Tobacco, the industry that started the ball rolling for climate change denial. The documented web of deceit and perfidy is utterly fascinating.

This should disabuse those remaining few who might still hold big business in some esteem and that the oil industry would never pursue profits without the utmost of responsibility. I don't know how many people there are left on the planet who would have believed that at this point, but now there should be none. Believe nothing they say.


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