Not that this should come as a huge surprise to anyone really (including the Heartland Institute, Jennifer Marohasy, the Institute for Public Affairs or anyone else branding themselves as a ‘liberal think-tank’ or ‘policy institute’) – Exxon is still funding climate change doublespeak. I was listening to an interview on local radio the other morning about research conducted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Apparently their director, Bob Ward, approached Exxon in 2006, concerned about the companies ongoing and considerable financial support of climate skeptic groups (such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who ran a series of campaigns under the slogan ‘Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution, we call it life’). Despite reports that Exxon have cut funding for the majority of groups, Ward argues that Exxon have reneged on their main promise:
MMA ALBERICI: How many groups and what are the kinds of figures we are talking about as far as sums of money?
BOB WARD: Several hundred thousand dollars a year. Two of the main organisations are the Heritage Foundation and something called the Atlas Economic Foundation. Now the reason I single out them is that they have been sponsors of a recent conference of so-called sceptics took place in Washington and that is mostly a gathering of lobbyists and other people who reject the evidence on climate change.
The interview makes for compelling listening – Ward makes a reasoned argument on how Exxon’s obfuscation can actually influence policy makers in Washington.[audio:http://www.climateshifts.org/media/SAM.mp3%5D
These organisations are not informing public debate on climate change, they are trying to mislead people and frankly we have seen these sorts of tactics before, for instance in the case of the tobacco industry who for many, many years funded campaigns and misinformation about the adverse affects of their products.
This seems to me to be a similar situation in which a commercial company is funding misinformation campaigns because there is abundant evidence that their products are having an adverse effect.