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ExxonMobil Fuels Attacks on Climate Change Theory

by Brian Dominick

Apr. 22, 2005 – Oil giant ExxonMobil has funded at least forty think tanks and other organizations with links to scientific studies and pundits attempting to demonstrate that global climate change is either unproven or inaccurate, according to research published by Mother Jones magazine.

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The corporation, which reports annual revenues topping $25 billion, committed some $8 million to the cause between 2000 and 2003 alone. The controversy surrounding climate change is almost entirely isolated to political and media circles, pushed by a small minority of research and policy institutes the main purpose of which is to defend private industry and free enterprise. In the scientific community, there is a near consensus that global warming is real, highly endangering and caused primarily by human industrial activity.

ExxonMobil has directed funds to such research and policy organizations as Citizens for a Fair Economy ($305,000), which called evidence of global warming "inconclusive" and said anyone who teaches about the human-driven phenomenon is "fear mongering"; the Competitive Enterprise Institute ($1.3 million), which just this week published an anti-environmentalist Earth Day statement called "The Sky Isn’t Falling"; and Frontiers of Freedom ($612,000), which maintains a library of "research" and analysis suggesting that evidence of global warming is "weak."

Also on the list of recipients of substantial support from the oil industry leader, is TechCentral, a punditry forum that specializes in "debunking" such "myths" as the connection between fast food and obesity, the notion that US policy inhibits AIDS prevention and treatment, and the theory that mass industry leads to climate change. That group, which received $95,000, and two conservative science organizations known as the Advancement of Sound Science Center and the Free Enterprise Action Institute, which together accepted $90,000 from ExxonMobil, all employ Steve Milloy, a writer whose column, "Junk Science," is based on attacking scientific findings that threaten right wing and free market agendas.

ExxonMobil told MJ that it also plans to donate $100 million to the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University, and that the company funds the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the administration on scientific concerns.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brian Dominick is a staff journalist.

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