From David McKnight in The Age this morning:
In May this year, the multibillion-dollar oil giant Exxon-Mobil ... announced that it would cease funding nine groups that had fuelled a global campaign to deny climate change.The article mentions several climate change denialist groups that have been funded by Exxon-Mobil in recent times, including the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute made headlines recently with its release of a paper challenging global warming theory, citing 500 climate scientists as "co-authors". Many of these so-called "co-authors were horrified to find their names attached to this work and claimed that it grossly misrepresented their findings. Some of the scientists proved to be dead or imaginary.
Exxon's decision comes after a shareholder revolt by members of the Rockefeller family and big superannuation funds to get the oil giant to take climate change more seriously. Exxon (once Standard Oil) was founded by the legendary John D. Rockefeller. Last year, the chairman of the US House of Representatives oversight committee on science and technology, Brad Miller, said Exxon's support for sceptics "appears to be an effort to distort public discussion".
Five New Zealander scientists released a statement saying that they "strongly object to the implication that they support Heartland’s position." One of these scientists was Dr Jim Salinger of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA):
"Global warming is real," he said, and demanded reference to his work be removed. The institute refused. The Heartland Institute received almost $800,000 from Exxon, according to Greenpeace's research based on Exxon's corporate giving disclosures.David McKnight - associate professor at the University of New South Wales - also says in his article:
In Australia, the main group that tries to undermine the science of global warming is the Lavoisier Group. It maintains a website with links to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (over $2 million from Exxon), Science and Environmental Policy Project ($20,000) and the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide (at least $100,000).The Lavoisier Group webpage contains (amongst other gems) a link to a paper which recycles many of the same old denialist talking points. All of those raised are refuted here on the New Scientist website. If I were Exxon-Mobil I would have wanted to get slightly more for my $2 million than that recycled nonsense.
Perhaps they did. There has certainly been a marked increase in denialist letters to the editor and editorials in Australian newspapers in the last few weeks. This follows a poll indicating that 60% of Australian voters support the introduction of a cabon emissions trading scheme "regardless of what other countries do", while 23% support a scheme "if other countries act".
When asked if climate change was caused by human activity, 96 per cent said it was entirely or partly caused by human activity; 84 per cent believed climate change was currently occurring.UPDATE: Exxon-Mobil yesterday reported the largest quarterly operating profit in US corporate history.