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ExxonMobil Gave $1.5M to Climate Denier Groups Last Year, Breaking Its Pledge To Stop Funding Denial Machine

ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million to climate deniers and industry front groups known for working to create doubt about global warming, attacking the integrity of climate scientists, and protecting the status quo for polluters, according to a front-page story in the Times of London today. 

Contrary to its stated commitment to stop funding climate denier groups, the Exxon funding spigot remained as open as the BP gusher, continuing to pollute the media landscape with oil-soaked misinformation designed to cripple international action on climate change.

Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets project has documented the nearly $25 million spent by ExxonMobil since 1998 to fund climate denier groups.

Exxon-funded groups used their latest infusion of oil money to create a media frenzy over the “Climategate” non-scandal and other efforts to derail progress towards an international agreement to fight climate change at the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen last winter.

Denial-a-palooza Round 4: 'International Conference on Climate Change' Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries

In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change

As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage.  The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy.  In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.

Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on.  After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.

For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.

Koch Industries' Extensive Funding of Climate Denial Industry Unmasked

Koch Industries has “become a financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition,” spending over $48.5 million since 1997 to fund the climate denial machine, according to an extensive report today by Greenpeace. 

The Greenpeace report reveals how Koch Industries and the foundations under its control spent far more than even ExxonMobil in recent years to fund industry front groups opposed to clean energy and climate policies.  Koch spent over half the total amount -nearly $25 million - funding climate denier groups from 2005 to 2008, a period in which Exxon only spent $8.9 million.

Greenpeace’s attempt to lift the veil of secrecy inherent to a private company like Koch Industries is no easy task.  Because it remains privately owned, Koch faces few of the disclosure requirements designed to increase transparency among publicly-traded companies.

Institute for Energy Research Admits It Was Behind Anti-Wind Study

Danish journalists have confirmed that The Institute for Energy Research commissioned and paid for the anti-wind energy study released last year by a Danish think tank that claimed Denmark exaggerates the amount of wind energy it produces (it doesn’t), questioned whether wind energy reduces carbon emissions (it does), and asserted that the U.S. should choose coal over wind because it’s cheaper (it’s not when you count the true costs of coal).

The Copenhagen Post reports:
“A controversial report critical of the wind energy industry from conservative think tank CEPOS was commissioned and paid for by an American think tank with close ties to the coal and oil industries.”

That American think tank is the Institute for Energy Research, which has received $307,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998 and unknown additional sums from other oil and coal industry sources.  The Guardian reported last year that the Institute for Energy Research has received recent funding from KBR and trusts set up by Koch Industries, which has multiple ties to IER and its sister organization American Energy Alliance.

Partisanship and Disinformation Surrounding Global Warming Taking their Toll

A new Gallup poll shows that compared to three years ago, twice as many Americans believe that global warming’s consequences are exaggerated.

And in just the last year, there has been an increase in skepticism from 41% to 48%.

The chart below shows a number of trends. Skepticism about global warming was generally low in 1997, when the polling started, before climate change was getting regular news coverage, either fact or opinion based.

In fact, the level of skepticism did not change much with the increasing coverage of climate change in the wake of An Inconvenient Truth, increasingly publicized consensus among the vast majority of climate scientists that global warming was real, human caused and potentially devastating, the Third Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001, or even the Nobel prize winning Fourth IPCC Assessment Report in 2007. So, we could assume that roughly 30% of the skeptics are not going to be persuaded by science. They have their opinion and they are sticking to it.

GOP to host “Mock Climate Hearing” (a.k.a. Coal/Oil-apalooza 2009)

House GOP leaders intend to stage a “mock climate hearing” to attack the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” currently being debated by Congress.  Led by Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Indiana), the “hearing” might as well be called the Summit of Dirty Fuels Industry Apologists. 

Pence has invited John Engler, former Governor of Michigan and current president of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and a slew of oil and coal industry apologists to slam the cap-and-trade legislation as harmful to consumers and the economy during the mock event to be held in the new Capitol Visitor Center.  Among the “handful of other experts,” according to Politico, are unnamed “scholars from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, the president of Laredo Petroleum and a former official at the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The unequivocal faith of the climate change quibblers

An article on the Heritage Foundation’s blog today shows just how little it takes for some people to put their head back in the sand when it comes to dealing with global warming.

Heritage staffer Conn Carroll declares Study Shows Global Warming Will Not Hurt U.S. Economy

Carroll pretty much leaves it at that. Other than including a single self-fulfilling quote cherry-picked from the study and another from US News correspondent James Pethokoukis who comes to this strange conclusion:

So if you do buy into the theory of man-made climate change, the next logical move would surely be to do nothing that would slow growth and technologcal [sic] advancement in rich countries — such as a cap-and-trade regulatory system or onerous carbon taxes — and do more to accelerate growth in poor ones through free trade and the exporting of democratic capitalism.

The Global Warming Deniers Are Restless

Just when you thought it was safe to acknowledge the unequivocal reality of global warming…..

Just when you thought the U.S. government was ready to admit that it has a serious emissions problem, and do something about it….

Just when you thought the skeptic party was over…

No way: There has been a strong run of nonsense from global warming “skeptics” and deniers lately. They are not ashamed, and they are not changing their tune. In fact, it sounds like they are gearing up for the next battle.

Why Exxon makes Koch Giggle

As regular readers of DeSmogBlog know, ExxonMobil has been a regular target of bad ink for their continued funding of “think” tanks and industry associations that spread misinformation about the scientific evidence for human-caused global warming.

While Exxon is continuously vilified as the leader of the attack on climate change science, the Koch Foundation is heavily involved in the same type of activity, but receives very little of the bad press.

Anyone want to start www.kochsecrets.org?

Patrick Michaels

patrick-michaels

Patrick J. Michaels

Credentials

  • S.M. Biology, University of Chicago (1975).
  • Biological Sciences, University of Chicago (1971).
  • Special Graduate Committee on Ecological Climatology (1979).

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