ExxonMobil

How an Environmental Journalist Became an Apologist for the Fossil Fuel Industry

The DeSmog UK epic history series turns to Richard D North, an environmental journalist who later took money from ExxonMobil, placing blame on consumers rather than fossil fuels for causing climate change.

During the ‘90s and early 2000s, ExxonMobil money was being refined through the London-based offices of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) before sloshing into the pockets of British journalists, including one admired environmental correspondent.

Richard D North was editor of the radical Vole magazine, the first environment editor hired by the left-liberal Independent newspaper, and “was one of the most respected environment correspondents in the 1980s.”

But then, inextricably, he had a change of heart and by 1995 had “become an apologist for industry”.

How an ExxonMobil-Funded Think Tank Took Over a Scientific Journal

This epic history series post reveals how the ExxonMobil-funded International Policy Network think tank took over a scientific publication as “guest editor”.

The real coup de grâce for Julian Morris came in 2005, when he persuaded his friend and fellow sceptic, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, (pictured) to allow staff at his UK think tank, the International Policy Network (IPN) to “guest edit” her Energy and Environment journal.

This was startling: a free market think tank, funded by an oil company that was actively engaged in attacking climate science to protect its own financial interests, had taken over a scientific publication.

That Time When an International Free Market Think Tank Attacked The Kyoto Protocol

This DeSmog UK epic history post looks at how Julian Morris’s free market think tank spread its influence in its attack on the Kyoto Protocol.

The free marketeer, Julian Morris, and his team at his International Policy Network (IPN) think tank continued to lead the charge against climate science in the autumn of 2003 – all the while secretly receiving generous funding from ExxonMobil.

In October 2003, Morris unleashed a vitriolic attack on the Kyoto Protocol along the familiar theme that the restrictions on fossil fuels would strangle economic growth.

Meet the 15 Fossil Fuel Giants Behind the Controversial Law to Maximise UK Oil and Gas Extraction

Shell, BP, Total UK and Centrica are just a few of the 15 oil and gas companies courted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to help implement the Wood Review recommendation to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum (MER UK) – a policy which is now law under the Infrastructure Act.

Under the Infrastructure Act this policy introduces a new legal obligation on current and future governments to extract every last drop of oil and gas. This is in direct conflict with Britain’s target to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

According to the agenda for a June 2014 PILOT meeting between government and industry obtained by DeSmog UK, the companies were consulted on how to implement the MER UK recommendation one month prior to the government issuing its official statement on implementing the Wood Review.

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith Declares War on NASA and EPA Climate Science Research

Lamar Smith, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, has declared war on the Obama administration, NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undermine attempts to prevent dangerous climate change, report Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague from Washington DC, USA.

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s climate denier conference in Washington DC today, the Texas congressman described how three subpoenas for EPA staff emails and texts have now been issued following claims about “secret emails” and personal use of email accounts by the agency. 

This follows a similar-spirited freedom of information request submitted to the EPA by Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute supported by the ExxonMobil funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Heartland Heavies Silence Climate Reporters at Oil Supported Summit*

The principled crusaders for free speech at the Heartland Institute today took the pragmatic step of banning credentialed journalists from its event fearing negative publicity.

Jim Lakely, the communications director for the oil and tobacco funded think tank, withdrew media credentials made and handed to Brendan Montague, editor of DeSmog UK, and asked hotel security to remove the reporter from the ICCC-10 event at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington DC.

Gene Koprowski, director of marketing, said he “refused to be drawn into a philosophical debate” when asked whether a think tank claiming to champion personal liberty and press freedom should begin blacklisting members of the media. 

Revealed: UK Government Lobbied Big Oil to be Green Gas Leaders – Shell, BP ‘Not So Keen’

Big Oil made headlines has announced plans to become Big Gas. Speaking at the industry-sponsored World Gas Conference in Paris, companies including Shell, Total, BG Group, BP, and Chevron all stressed “the vital role of natural gas” in helping tackle climate change, write Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague.

However, as documents obtained by DeSmog UK in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveal, Shell and BP failed to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Oil & Gas Methane Partnership – a UN-backed initiative to manage industry methane emissions – following lobbying by the UK Government for them to join as founding companies.

According to a 12 June 2014 briefing document drafted for then climate change minister Gregory Barker, ahead of a meeting with Shell executives, the government argued: “This Partnership provides industry with a good platform to demonstrate that gas is part of the low carbon solution, and to demonstrate their leadership to investors and consumers.”

How Julian Morris Led the British Charge Against Climate Science in 2003

Our latest DeSmog UK epic history series post looks at Julian Morris’s ExxonMobil-funded, climate sceptic publication Adapt or Die.

Julian Morris, the president and founder of the International Policy Network (IPN), was leading the British charge against climate science and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2003.

The London-based free market think tank published Adapt or Die: The Science, Politics and Economics of Climate Change just in time for the climate negotiations at the Conference of the Parties (COP) summit held in Milan in December.

Adapt or Die was a veritable directory of climate sceptics from both the UK and the US.

What Does The Cabinet Re-Shuffle Mean for Energy and Climate?

This article by Christine Ottery has been cross-posted from Energydesk.

Sajid Javid, the newly appointed secretary of state for the department of Business Innovation and Skills, has accepted over £16,600-worth of conference expenses from a think tank that has received funding from Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers – according to an Energydesk analysis of the new government ministers involved in energy and climate decisions.

Amber Rudd and Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state and minister at DECC respectively, have also been involved in controversies over previous donations.

Meanwhile, the new head of the DCLG replacing the controversial Eric Pickles, Greg Clark had no registered donations and Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, under-secretary at DECC, has been involved in some minor political skirmishes.

California State of Emergency: Up To 105,000 Gallons of Oil Spill in Santa Barbara from Plains All American Pipeline

Up to 105,000 gallons of oil obtained via offshore drilling have spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains All American at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in California. At least 21,000 gallons have poured into the Pacific Ocean and the spill's impacts stretch nine miles, according to the Associated Press.

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