Exxon Gave $1.5 Million to Climate Denier Groups in 2009


Photo via the Guardian

How does that old saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, I won't get fooled again." Something like that (thanks, Dubya). Maybe the revised maxim holds some truth in this case: I certainly won't believe a word Exxon Mobil's PR factory churns out, perhaps ever again. The oil giant has manipulated the public into buying its crap (metaphorically speaking, at least) for the last time, as far as I'm concerned. So what am I rambling about? Well, for the second time, Exxon has been exposed as funding front groups who spread disinformation about climate science -- after publicly promising it would stop doing so. Twice. Here's Exxon's public statement promising it would halt any funding of climate denier groups, from the Times of London:

In its 2007 Corporate Citizenship Report, [Exxon] stated: "In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

Exxon also gave reassurances last year that it had no funding links with the sceptics' biggest annual conference, the International Conference on Climate Change.

Exxon had been a major sponsor of the ICCC in the past. But as of 2008, no more! The oil giant had come to its senses! It was ready to engage in a productive conversation about how to start moving towards cleaner energy sources! We even lauded the move in a blog post here on Treehugger! It was -- wait, what's this?
But a list published by Exxon this month of its "2009 worldwide contributions and investments" revealed that it had given four cosponsors of the New York event a total of $275,000. It also gave $1 million to 20 other skeptic groups.
Woops. A recent investigation revealed that last year, Exxon spent a total of $1.5 million feeding the climate disinformation fire -- which means that a good deal of that nonsense about global cooling and Climate Gate we heard on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio show was being dreamed up by think tankers funded directly by Exxon Mobil. Surprising? Hardly. Galling? A little.

I mean, it's one think to attempt to confuse the public about climate science by funding front groups who push a conservative, science-disregarding agenda supporting an interminable reliance on fossil fuels. But to publicly say you won't do precisely that anymore, and that you're open to a valid conversation about climate change -- and then to keep doing it under the radar, that's truly despicable.

So what do you think Exxon did after being outed for supporting the climate denier groups it claimed it was no longer supporting? Here's DeSmog Blog:

When questioned by the Times about the company's previous decision to stop funding denier groups, Exxon chose to recycle its pledge yet again, announcing that it would stop supporting three of the four groups from now on.
Oh, so now, they're going stop funding those groups. Well, if they say so . . .

More on Exxon
Big Oil and Coal Climate Disinformation Campaign 101 (Video)
Exxon Spends More on Lobbying than Entire Clean Energy Industry Combined
Report: Exxon Still Orchestrating Campaign to "Undermine Public Acceptance of Climate Change"

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