Exxon lobby group named "year's most influential" in global climate change

Wed, 2006-12-13 11:25Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Exxon lobby group named "year's most influential" in global climate change

The US Weather Channel's “climate change mission statement ” reads: “Throughout the world, people are confused about climate change and global warming, [the Weather Channel] will provide a place where sound science can be heard.” As regular DeSmog readers know, much of the confusion and doubt in the general public around the issue of climate change and the discussion around “sound science” has been at the hands of industry and oil company funded front groups.

Such groups serve the purpose of doing and saying the things a modern day corporation cannot get away with saying, like “C02, some call it pollution, we call it life. ” That's the laughable tagline used by one such industry front group called the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a so-called US “think” tank that has received over $2 million dollars from ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world.

Now back to the Weather Channel and their valiant mission on climate change. The Weather Channel today announced their “2006 Hot List,” which in their own words “will bring focus to the people and organization (sic) who in 2006 most influenced climate policy, science and public opinion.” One would assume, based on their stated mission that their idea of a “hot list” would be chosen among the thousands of people, organizations and corporations effecting the climate change issue in a positive way. Not so, coming in at number 3 on the Weather Channel's 2006 “hot list” is none other than the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

If the Weather Channel decides to promote such organizations as “influencing climate policy,” that's fine, but at least look past the teflon coating of the CEI and list the group who is really influencing climate policy, ExxonMobil.

Just because I love the video so much, here's CEI's climate guru Myron Ebell getting hammered in a recent BBC interview. If bumbling and stumbling over your oil industry interests makes you a “2006 Hot List” winner, then Ebell should have won the lifetime achievement award.


There is something much worse than the tattered remains of the denial brigade, although this blog does valuable work naming and showing the exposed rear ends of such writers. The spade work seems to be done and they are discredited, for the most part, though one must recall that there will always be the flash of the odd opportunist like Lomborg and a host of newspaper writers who will seize on some trifle to raise once again the claim that, so to speak, the world is flat, for a headline. But the economists are coming. Claiming titles like environmental economics, they are trying to invade environment with all their confused lingo ready to distract everyone else from the dawning ecological perspective with talk about whether it would be a good investment to do things that are necessary, if we realized it, to survive as a species. They are like the insects that have invaded the forest up here in Canada and are killing zillions of trees. Given the right climate they will grow like wildfire. The economists too, in the present environment where everyone’s opinion has some ranking will flourish for while. They can be seen at work in the Stern report, and in the attacks on that report, that is often seen in the news currently. Either those concerned with pervasive threats like AGW will go over to attack the economists and so push them away from climate change and what must be done; or the economists will have success in their present development and distract us all from urgenly needed change in perspective and public policy. The denialists are the previous main enemy; now it is the economists who must be eradicated. See the discussion on social discount rate,as an instance of the distraction they cause. Was there any discussion about how much it would cost to go after the terrorists after 9/11?

I can’t stomach seeing Competitive Enterprise Institute and Wal-Mart on The Weather Channel 2006 ONE° Hot List.

The fact that they made the list shows that the NOAA-National Weather Service strategy on climate change has been working as planned by G.W.Bush and company in 2003.

NOAA-NWS strategy on climate change (2003)


NOAA Deputy Administrator Dr. James Mahoney testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on January 8 on Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Trading Systems. In his testimony, Mahoney noted that the workshop and strategic plan directly respond to President Bush’s call that the best scientific information be developed to assist the United States in developing a well-reasoned
approach to climate change issues. “If we fail to fully evaluate the scientific information bearing on global change, we would be subject to the justifiable criticism that our strategy to cope with potentially our largest-ever investment in environmental management would be seen as a ‘ready-fire-aim’ approach.”

Please excuse me while I go throw up.

Some might say that The Weather Channel should have come up with a 50/50 split of skeptics and real climate scientists.

Maybe The Weather Channel considered adding David Wojick? I had discussions with Wojick on his ClimateChangeDebate (CCD) list in 2002-2003. It seems Wojick had input to the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Strategic Plan in Dec. 2002-2003.

A copy of his CCD reply to my question is below.

Re: Strategic Plan for the U.S. CCSP (Jl 2003), Wojick’s Assessment of Plan (D 2003)

From: David E. Wojick
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2004 07:37:37

Pat, I have no idea how much influence I had on the CCSP StratPlan. One never does in massive gov’t efforts like this. On the one hand, they certainly know who I am. When the CCSP was first formed I criticized the warminess of some of its statements. The CCSP boss – Asst. Commerce Sec. Jim Mahoney – met with the Cooler Heads, including me, to hear our concerns. I then made an invited presentation on my New View study at their Stratplan workshop (my pictures are still up as far as I know – lucky panel 13). The New View study circulated
pretty widely on the Hill and I discussed it with Inhofe’s people. I presented it a NAM, who posted it, etc., etc.
That’s about all I know. I like to think I made the case for uncertainty.

On the other hand, except for the milestones, the StratPlan is pretty warm. As I point out in the new study, they systematically blur the distinction between natural climate change and human induced change, even though that is the fundamental scientific issue. They also have a bunch of near term milestones on predicting regional climate, ignoring
the fact that whether this is even possible depends on resolving some of the long term milestones. That’s why I want
to see the CPM network. They shouldn’t promise what can’t be done by their own numbers.

Why do you ask?

David W.



In case you see this the reason I asked is so I could post your reply on some board in the future - just for kicks.

e: Dec2-6 climate conference

From: David E. Wojick (view other messages by this author)
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 11:09:00


>Some on this list went to the Dec2-6 2002 conference on climate.
>Who was there? What did you say? What did they say? What’s next?
The following article sums it up pretty well. 1300 people talking and
nobody listening. You
can download the Plan and make your own comments at

My pitch was the beginning of a campaign. In the last few years a new
view has emerged, a revolution
really. Multiple natural variation mechanisms have been identified, any
one of which can explain
all of the 20th Century climate change. So GHG warming is now just one of
many plausible theories,
not an explanation. We need to sort this out before we take any action

They gave me the counter argument that the models cannot explain the late
20th Century warming
without GHGs. So I pointed out that the models do not include the new
mechanisms, so that argument
is invalid. So are the models. They shrugged me off but I am gong to beat
them up with this.
Climate is a new game.

“Patchy”, the IPCC’s new head, embarassed himself, in my view. He gave a
keynote address using
a bunch of scare slides from the Union of Concerned Scientists. This to a
bunch of top real
scientists, who must regard the UCS as the green activists they are. Did
not speak well for
the objectivity of the IPCC. I predicted he would screw up like this.

I caught NSF head Rita Colwell saying something she shouldn’t have, but
she made me promise
not to tell. She seems a nice lady.

The head of NOAA told me there will not be a National Climate Service.
Good decision.

David W

Bush Climate Change Plan Short on Details

By J.R. Pegg

WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2002 (ENS) - Scientists and climate experts
applauded the Bush
administration’s coordination of a three day workshop on global climate
change, but found its
draft plan for study of the issue short on priorities, details and

Without serious revisions, experts say, the plan is unlikely to provide a
strategy for policymakers
to adequately address the issue of climate change.

“By focusing so much on the uncertainties and on the costs of action, the
plan biases decision
makers toward inaction,” said Dr. Susanne Moser, a scientist with the
Union of Concerned Scientists
(UCS) Global Environment Program. “This plan also shouldn’t oversell the
ability of the research
community to overcome uncertainty, especially in the short term. We
should be honest about
how our work typically resolves some, and creates new, unknowns.”

“This is a wonderful document but it is not a strategic plan,” said
Berrien Moore, a professor
at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth,
Oceans, and Space. “It
lacks an overarching strategy, but the plan and the meeting are
remarkable achievements in

More than 1,300 climate scientists and experts attended the
administration sponsored meeting
to offer public comments on the draft version of a new strategic plan for
climate change and
global change studies. It was held in Washington, DC from December 3 to

Further public comments on the plan, which was prepared by the 13 federal
agencies participating
in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), will be accepted
through January 13, 2003
with the final version set for publication in April 2003.

Uncertainty and the cost of action remain key sticking points on how to
address climate change.
So far, the Bush administration has only called for voluntary measures to
reduce greenhouse
gas emissions.

Administration officials have repeatedly said further research on the
effects of global warming
and on humanity’s influence on climate change is needed before sound
policy can be formed.
Its draft plan centers on reducing this uncertainty.

“We hope that this workshop and the strategic plan under discussion will
map out the strategy
by which these uncertainties can be cleared up or better understood,”
said U.S. Deputy Secretary
of Commerce Sam Bodman.

“There is a great deal we don’t know or don’t know well enough,” added
William O’Keefe, president
of the George C. Marshall Institute. “We think there may be a problem but
we are far from understanding
the causes. Unfortunately, in the climate change arena, skepticism has
become a vice, not a

Many environmentalists and scientists contend that the administration’s
call for further research
masks a strategy that seeks to delay any substantive action on the issue
of climate change.
There is ample evidence of global warming, they say, but this
administration and its draft
plan on climate change are ignoring it.

“Do we have enough evidence to decide that aggressive action to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions
is appropriate? The rest of the world has answered yes and many states
and cities in this country
have answered yes,” said Dr. Janine Bloomfield, a scientist with tne New
York based nonprofit
group Environmental Defense.

“Narrowing down uncertainties is a legitimate goal,” added Donald
Goldberg, senior attorney
with the Center for International Law’s Climate Change Program. “What is
not legitimate is
to use the existence of uncertainties as an excuse not to act. We all
know there are uncertainties,
there always are in science. If we could never act to avert an
environmental catastrophe until
we resolved all the uncertainties, then we would never act at all.”

“This is not a delaying tactic,” responded meteorologist Dr. James
Mahoney, assistant secretary
of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and director of the CCSP.
“Reasonable people can and
do disagree with the interpretation of the research on climate change,
but no one disagrees
that we need continued research on this issue.”

Financial resources available to address potential climate change are not
infinite, Mahoney
added, and the administration wants to ensure its policies do not pose
undue burdens on either
the U.S. or global economy. This cautious approach, he said, should not
be misconstrued as

“We may well find that the solutions we need to address global warming
are solutions that cost
trillions of dollars,” he added. “When we look at major shifts in energy
use, one question
for a government that has the largest economy in the world has to ask is
‘what will the effects
of these shifts be on our trading partners and within this country?’”

“We are greatly concerned that anything we might do in the U.S. economy
might impede the ability
of developing countries to sell to America,” Mahoney said. “That is
always a relevant question.”

“You can achieve almost anything today, it is just a question of how much
you want to pay,”
added Robert Card, undersecretary for energy, science and environment at
the U.S. Energy Department.

Card and other administration officials noted that the U.S. federal
government has spent some
$20 billion on climate change research since 1990, but must begin to
focus these resources
to provide better science on the issue. According to several experts more
resources are needed.

“Resources are limiting the rate of progress,” said Dr. Richard Anthes,
president of the University
Corporation for Atmospheric Research. “We could justify one million times
the present computing
power worldwide.”

Anthes and other conference participants repeatedly highlighted this need
for more resources
along with more clearly set budget priorities. They also found the draft
strategic plan needs
better integration among government and intergovernmental agencies and
programs, and a global
observation system, as well as improved modeling of regional climate

The plan needs to include costs of inaction and costs of adaptive
measures to climate change
for comparison with projected costs of mitigation efforts, experts say.

Many participants agreed that there is enough evidence for actions beyond
voluntary measures
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, something the Bush administration
appears reluctant to
embrace. Critics point to the plan’s failure to fully integrate findings
from the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change or from the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s
National Assessment
of the Potential Consequences of Climate Change.

“When you read the plan, you definitely get the feeling that it is not
building on previous
work,” Bloomfield said.

“The global models all point towards warming and not to any small
degree,” Moser said. “There
is huge agreement on some of the global patterns that we are seeing and
on the human contribution,
even if there is a natural element. This report doesn’t highlight that or
build on that at all.”

Beyond the need to further incorporate the existing science, many experts
found the plan in
dire need of a more integrated international outlook. Goldberg, who
served on a panel that
reviewed the draft chapter on international collaboration, said there was
“no sense of how
the Bush administration is going to collaborate with other countries.”

“It is entirely unfocused,” he said. “Almost all of the chapter was a
recitation of things
that the United States has already been doing. You get the sense that
they didn’t really sit
down and try to come up with a real, overarching plan that addresses all
of the objectives
in a cohesive, coherent way.”

The administration now expects to digest the public comments with the aim
to release a final
version of the plan by April 2003. In addition, the simultaneous review
of the plan by a new
committee of the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council
could offer further
insight into how seriously public comments are considered in the process.

According to National Academy of Science president Bruce Alberts, the
organization will review
both the draft and final versions of the plan, with a report expected in
September 2003.

The open process, repeatedly touted by Bush administration officials,
will let stakeholders
understand how their comments and suggestions were addressed. This is
could add further pressure
on the administration to take these comments and suggestions to heart,
said UCS’ Moser.

I”It will be really, really difficult for the Bush administration to
completely dismiss and
ignore this. Many of the critical comments are on public record,” she
said. “I still have my
doubts to the extent they will take all this to heart. But so many
comments on public record
will make it difficult to ignore.”

“The openness of the workshop got everyone hopeful again that they could
have an influence
on this plan and that it is something that is not a done deal already,”
she added. “They’ll
frustrate some of the best scientists in the country if they do not
respond to it in a constructive

——— Forwarded message ———-
>From: “David E. Wojick”
>To: Debate
>Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 14:25:18 -0500
>Subject: My science milestone report is up
>Dear Listers, I have a new report just out–
>Wojick, David E., 2003. Uncertainties, Milestones and Issues in the
>An Assessment of the Strategic Plan of the U.S. Climate Change Science
>Program. December 2003. Online go to
and search on

>My basic point is that the CCSP Strategic Plan gives many time-estimated
>milestones for resolving key scientific uncertainties. These must be
>resolved before we can determine whether or not humans are in fact
>influencing climate. This definition of milestones is a major step
>forward, for which the CCSP is to be commended. What remains is to
>network the critical dependencies between these milestones, to find the
>critical path to resolution. Then do the research to work thru that
>Many of the key time estimates are “beyond 4 years,” and some have to
>wait for others to be resolved along the critical path. Therefore, it
>will likely be a decade or more before the science is settled, one way
>the other. This in itself is an important finding. Comments welcome.
>Critical path scheduling is a well known project management method. it
>should be applied to climate research.
>Happy New Year,
>David W.
>David E. Wojick, PE, Ph.D.
>Over 15,000 knowledgeable postings a year!
>Non subscribers can follow the debate at

>or sign up for the free email debate listserv at

>See my latest climate science study at http://www.nam.org/wojick

provides a Wojick bio and

>client list. >

I think you should be giving the Weather Channel some credit here. They’ve got it right, in my opnion. They do say:

CEI influences public policy by highlighting scientific uncertainties. Their critics say they manufacture uncertainties where they do not exist. CEI has received funding from the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, which some connect to their advocacy of contrarian positions on climate change. The Royal Society, the U.K.’s national academy of science, sent a letter to ExxonMobil this year asking them to stop funding groups such as CEI that it says “misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence.””

As we all well know, the CEI’s so-called argument (the unwritten parts as well as the public parts) remains the most influential to the government, whilst all the best science in the world has so far failed to actually influence policy. It should have influenced it, but it hasn’t.

Wojick (not CEI) had most influence to the US government on making up uncertainties about global warming. See preceding comments. The influence Wojick had Dec 2002-2003 on US government policy in NOAA carried over to more recent years - including 2006. If The Weather Channel wishes to consider falsehoods and crimes against the world in coming up with those they recognize on their list Wojick deserves more points than CEI. In putting global warming skeptics on their list, TWC is endorsing bad behavior - a bad idea by TWC. > Wojick, David E., 2003. Uncertainties, Milestones and Issues in the CCSP. …
A U.S. District Court judge ruled on June 27 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service both wrongly approved expansion of the West Elk coal mine in Somerset, Colo., because they failed to take into account the economic impacts greenhouse gas emissions from the mining would have.
The federal agencies said it was impossible to quantify such impacts, but the court pointed out a tool is...
read more