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These are the Five European Think Tanks Exxon was a Member of in 2014

This is the first part of DeSmog UK’s series mapping Exxon’s ties to EU think tanks and lobby groups.

Pressure is mounting on ExxonMobil to explain why the oil giant funded climate denial around the world years after its own scientists established global warming was real.

Exxon has a long history of funding climate denial and last September it was revealed that it did so despite a full scientific knowledge about the impacts of manmade climate change in the 1970s’ and ‘80s.

This prompted the New York Attorney General to subpoena ExxonMobil to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.” A similar investigation has also been launched in California.

These revelations tell us what Exxon knew. The investigations in New York and California are asking ‘what did Exxon do?’

Exxon in the EU

So, while the oil giant has been getting a lot of heat in the U.S. for funding climate denial, this DeSmog UK investigation takes these questions across the Atlantic, and asks: what has ExxonMobil been up to in Europe?

The past 10 years are pretty murky when it comes to deciphering ExxonMobil’s climate denial activities in Europe.

In 2007, the oil giant pledged to stop funding climate denial groups in response to pressure from shareholder activists. However, eight years later the company was found to have given more than $2.3m (£1.7m) to an American lobbying group and members of Congress that deny climate change and block efforts to tackle the issue.

It begs the question: has ExxonMobil been up to the same tricks in Europe?

ExxonMobil Spent At Least £5.6m on European Lobbying and Corporate Donations in 2014

ExxonMobil has spent at least £5.6m ($8.08 million) on lobbying the European Commission and in donations to European universities and organisations in 2014 according to the most recent figures available.

A DeSmog UK investigation into the oil giant’s European activities reveals much of this was spent lobbying on energy and environment issues in addition to donations to organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Last September, Inside Climate News revealed that ExxonMobil knew about the impacts of manmade climate change in the 1970s’ and ‘80s yet went on to fund numerous climate denial efforts. This prompted the New York Attorney General to subpoena ExxonMobil to “determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.”

Chart Shows Why 'CO2 is Good' For Climate Science Denial Groups Funded By Exxon and Kochs

What difference does influential corporate cash make to the arguments that climate science denial groups make in public?

This was a question that Yale University’s Dr Justin Farrell tried to answer in an exhaustive piece of research published late last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Farrell’s paper - Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change – contained this remarkable chart, which I missed at the time but reckon it deserves a bit more daylight.

During Paris Climate Summit, Obama Signed Exxon-, Koch-Backed Bill Expediting Pipeline Permits

Just over a week before the U.S. signed the Paris climate agreement at the conclusion of the COP21 United Nations summit, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law with a provision that expedites permitting of oil and gas pipelines in the United States.

The legal and conceptual framework for the fast-tracking provision on pipeline permitting arose during the fight over TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. President Barack Obama initially codified that concept via Executive Order 13604 — signed the same day as he signed an Executive Order to fast-track construction of Keystone XL's southern leg — and this provision “builds on the permit streamlining project launched by” Obama according to corporate law firm Holland & Knight.

Groups Ask Columbia University To Reveal Funding Behind Exxon-Tied Center on Global Energy Policy

Final exams and winter break loom large for students at Columbia University, but at the upper echelons of the university's administration, new calls for transparency about the funding of a university affiliated center are likely to create plenty of homework as well. 

letter sent out today and shared with DeSmog from several high-profile advocacy groups addressed to Columbia President Lee Bollinger calls for Columbia to reveal the funders of the influential — and to-date, dark-money funded — Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP).

The letter was signed by groups ranging from Public Citizen, ForestEthics, Bold Nebraska, Environmental Working Group, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Checks and Balances Project.

In Midst of ExxonMobil Climate Denial Scandal, Company Hiring Climate Change Researcher

Caught in the crosshairs of an ongoing New York Attorney General investigation exploring its role in studying the damage climate change could cause since the 1970's and then proceeding to fund climate science denial campaigns, ExxonMobil has announced an interesting job opening. 

No, not the new lawyer who will soon send the “private empire” billable hours for his defense work in the New York AG probe, though that's a story for another day. Exxon is hiring for a climate change researcher to work in its Annandale, New Jersey research park facility.   

“We are seeking a candidate to advance research and assessment providing fundamental understanding on global climate change issues,” reads the job description.

Major Climate Science Denial Groups Offer to Hide Fossil Fuel Funding, Greenpeace Investigation Finds

An undercover investigation by environment group Greenpeace has found some of the world’s most vocal climate science denial groups were willing to accept cash from fossil fuel interests in return for writing articles and reports that reject the impacts of greenhouses gases.

Greenpeace operatives posing as representatives of coal and oil companies were told that while the reports could be produced, there were ways that the sources of funding could be hidden.

Academics affiliated with leading US academic institutions Princeton and Penn State universities are implicated in the Greenpeace research.

Exposed: ExxonMobil Funding Influential Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy

In a sentence buried at the very bottom of a story making headlines nationwide, Politico revealed for the first time one of the funders of Columbia University's influential Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP).

The funder: ExxonMobil, the company embroiled in a New York state Attorney General investigation for its extensive internal knowledge of the impacts of climate change since the 1970s, followed by Exxon's funding of climate change denial campaigns to the tune of $31 million. Politico got its numbers from ExxonMobil's 2014 Worldwide Contributions and Community Investments report.

The Growing Republican Rift Over Climate Change

As the world gears up for the climate negotiations kicking off in Paris next week, Republicans in the United States are doing everything in their power to make sure that no climate deal takes place without their approval (which will never happen.)

But there are a few Republicans in leadership positions in Washington that have had enough of being labeled the “anti-science” party, and they are hoping to turn the GOP onto the idea that climate change is very real.

Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Mark Kirk have created a new committee that will meet periodically to talk about environment and energy issues. The group, called the Senate Energy and Environment Working Group, is the first national effort by Senate Republicans to address the threats of climate change and to address our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Groups Hand 360,000 Signatures to Justice Department Calling for "Exxon Knew" Probe

Exxon social license revoked

With the hottest October in world history recorded recently, a slew of advocacy groups have delivered 360,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Department of Justice, calling for a probe of petrochemical industry giant ExxonMobil's history of funding climate change denial despite what the company knew about climate science. 

The groups ranging from 350.org, Food and Watch Watch, Climate Parents, Moms Clean Air Force, The Nation, Sierra Club and others have asked DOJ to investigate what ExxonMobil knew about climate change and when the company knew it, juxtaposing that insider knowledge, exposed by both InsideClimate News and The Los Angeles Times, with the climate change denial campaign it funded both in the past and through to the present

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