Bill Totten's Weblog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Global Warming: Exxon Money vs Scientific Evidence

Consumer Advocates Call on Congress to Subpoena Exxon's Funding Records As Oil Giant Underwrites Efforts to Deny Reality of Global Warming

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

News Release (February 02 2007)

Santa Monica, California - The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today called on Congress to subpoena ExxonMobil's records and probe the oil giant's funding of organizations involved in disputing the reality of global warming.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation's call came as a widely respected international report warned that climate change cannot be stopped and is "very likely" caused by human activity.

FTCR urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch the investigation after a report in the respected British newspaper, The Guardian, that the Exxon-financed American Enterprise Institute (AEI) was offering scientists and economists $10,000 each to write articles undercutting the report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses were also being offered.

The AEI has received more than $1.6 million from Exxon Mobil and more than twenty of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration, which has resisted reports of global warming. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees, The Guardian reported.

"ExxonMobil made a profit of $40 billion last year - more than any company ever - not just on the on the backs of overcharged motorists, but at the expense of human life on earth itself. Now it's using the profits to bury the evidence and distract attention from the most serious problem the world faces", said John Simpson, FTCR consumer advocate. "Profiteering is one thing, but willfully undermining serious scientific research to maintain those profits simply cannot be allowed".

According to the Los Angeles Times the IPCC report released today in Paris says scientists' "best estimate" is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 [Fahrenheit] degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees. The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. More information is available on the web at:

(c) 2000-2006 FTCR. All Rights Reserved.


Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

by Ian Sample, science correspondent

The Guardian (February 02 2007)

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil and more than twenty of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.

The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN's panel as "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and ask for essays that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs".

Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the "overwhelming scientific evidence" on global warming. "It's a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims", said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

"The IPCC process is probably the most thorough and open review undertaken in any discipline. This undermines the confidence of the public in the scientific community and the ability of governments to take on sound scientific advice", he said.

The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.

"Right now, the whole debate is polarised", he said. "One group says that anyone with any doubts whatsoever are deniers and the other group is saying that anyone who wants to take action is alarmist. We don't think that approach has a lot of utility for intelligent policy".

One American scientist turned down the offer, citing fears that the report could easily be misused for political gain. "You wouldn't know if some of the other authors might say nothing's going to happen, that we should ignore it, or that it's not our fault", said Steve Schroeder, a professor at Texas A&M university.

The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a ninety per cent chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8 degrees Celsisu this century, depending on emissions.

Lord Rees of Ludlow, the president of the Royal Society, Britain's most prestigious scientific institute, said: "The IPCC is the world's leading authority on climate change and its latest report will provide a comprehensive picture of the latest scientific understanding on the issue. It is expected to stress, more convincingly than ever before, that our planet is already warming due to human actions, and that 'business as usual' would lead to unacceptable risks, underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. However, yet again, there will be a vocal minority with their own agendas who will try to suggest otherwise".

Ben Stewart of Greenpeace said: "The AEI is more than just a think tank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra. They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash."

On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report. Among its authors are Tad Murty, a former scientist who believes human activity makes no contribution to global warming. Confirmed VIPs attending include Nigel Lawson and David Bellamy, who believes there is no link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.

Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian News and Media Limited 2007,,2004399,00.html

Bill Totten


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