Friday, July 15, 2016

ExxonMobil: New Disclosures Show Oil Giant Still Funding Climate Science Denial Groups


ExxonMobil and the climate science denial machinery that it has helped to build over the years are now under more scrutiny than ever before.

At its most recent AGM, the oil and gas giant faced a barrage of questions and resolutions over its position on climate change. Then there is the not insignificant matter of investigations by a group of attorneys general that allege the company lied about its knowledge of the risks of burning fossil fuels. ExxonMobil is retaliating.

The company has pleaded innocence, with CEO Rex Tillerson telling the company's shareholders that his views on climate science were perfectly in line with the United Nations.

But the latest disclosures on donations by ExxonMobil, reported publicly here for the first time, show it continues to support organisations that claim greenhouse gases are not causing climate change, or that cuts to emissions are a waste of time and money.

Organisations including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Black Chamber of Commerce — all organisations with a record of misinformation on climate science — all received grants in 2015 from ExxonMobil. The 2015 tally brings the total amount of known Exxon funding to denial groups north of $33 million since 1998.

Since 1997, ExxonMobil has been releasing reports annually listing donations to public policy groups — several of which were engaged in a public misinformation campaign on climate change science.

In 2007, after years of criticism, ExxonMobil claimed to have turned a corner on the science.

In a corporate responsibility report, the company said: "In 2008, we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

ExxonMobil still funding denial

But many climate change campaigners and scientists have illustrated how the company continued to support organisations spreading climate science denial.

Now the oil giant is facing lawsuits from a team of state attorneys general after investigations by Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times showed the company's own scientists were aware of the risks of burning fossil fuels in the 1980s.

A DeSmog investigation found evidence that Exxon's knowledge went even further back – to the late 1970s.

In May, the world's biggest earth sciences organization, the American Geophysical Union, was forced to reopen talks over its financial ties to ExxonMobil after a stinging letter from two members of congress.

More than 200 scientists had signed a letter asking AGU to cut sponsorship ties to ExxonMobil over its decades-long funding of organizations pushing doubt about the causes and implications of climate change.


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