Who Are They Kidding: Exxon Says Never Doubted Climate Change
File this under the "yeah, right" category: according to a recent news report, the oil company Exxon Mobil apparently never doubted the risk from climate change: no, as its global spokesman Kenneth Cohen would have it, it has simply "evolved" its understanding of the problem over the past few years.
Having finally bowed to reality and accepted that some form of US climate policy was now inescapable, the world's most profitable company has decided to take a seat at the table and help shape future legislation. "We're very much not a denier, very much at the table with our sleeves rolled up," Cohen told reporters. It has come out in favor of a so-called "upstream cap and trade" carbon market that would cap emissions at the level of fossil fuel suppliers instead of energy consumers like utilities.
In a move to soften its stance on climate change, Exxon withdrew funding from the global warming denying Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2005, a year before it ran its laughable ad campaign promoting carbon dioxide, "We Call it Life" (see here and here for all the gory details), and, alleging that it has been "misunderstood," pledged this past January that it would "not be providing any further funding" to similar organizations.Now this certainly all sounds rosy and good but, once you get down to it, doesn't equate very well with the facts: indeed, a report released by GreenPeace a few weeks ago revealed that the company was still actively funding at least 14 groups "for their climate change work," including Frontiers for Freedom, which released a tract "dedicated entirely to questioning global warming science, policy and attacking Al Gore," and the Heartland Institute, which describes global warming as " prime example of the alarmism that characterizes much of the environmental movement."
Cohen tries to explain this away by arguing that Exxon only funded such groups because they were against the Kyoto Protocol (which it still firmly rejects) and not because they vehemently denied the existence of global warming. "We started funding a number of these groups because we were opposed to the Kyoto Protocol. We were slow to stop funding," he said.
That sounds especially hard to believe when you try to reconcile that view with this waffling statement made by the company's CEO, Rex Tillerson, on global warming earlier this month:
"There's much we know and can agree on around the climate change issue, and there's much that we just don't believe we do know and we want to have a debate about the things we know and understand, the things we know about that we don't understand very well, and the things we don't even know about around this very complex issue of climate science. So that will continue to be our position."
We'll believe it when we see it, guys.
See also: ::Exxon Turns Off Disinformation Tap, ::This is News? Scientists Slam Exxon for Disinformation Campaign, ::Exxon to USA: Stop Trying, Resistance is Futile, ::States, Pension Funds and Institutions Going after Exxon Mobil