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I have a challenge for you: try to come up with a company that better exemplifies the archetype of the nefarious, greed-driven, monolithic corporation than Exxon. Besides Haliburton. You have until the end of this blog post to do so. But it's a tall order: Exxon is behind one of the most infamous environmental catastrophes of our time, it makes more gross income than most nations' entire GDPs, and it does business with nations with unstable governments that are often hostile to the US. Worst of all, it has done everything in its power to push a misinformation campaign designed to discredit both climate science and international efforts to keep the earth's temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. And according to recent reports, its still up to its old tricks.ExxonMobil: Still the Biggest Force Behind Climate Denial
A report in the Independent outlines how the oil giant is still funneling money through various conservative think tanks and organizations in order to propagate the myth that the science behind human-caused climate change is "unsettled." Even though it has repeatedly stated that it would stop doing so. Hell, we even fell for it when they said so (see Exxon turns off the disinformation tap).
We won't fall for it again. We won't fall for it when Exxon publicly calls for a carbon tax, saying it's the best way for them to anticipate costs--knowing full well that such a tax is entirely, 100% impossible politically in the US. Because Exxon has only one, singular goal--and just like that ol' stereotype of the Evil Corporation--it will do anything necessary to continue to turn profits. Even if it means intentionally misleading the public. I know this is starting to sound a bit too much like a Greenpeace press release, but I've had it.
Is ExxonMobil Duping You?
This is as if the tobacco companies lobbyists had successfully argued that cigarettes don't cause cancer--and the public actually bought it, hook, line and sinker. It's really stunning to me that anyone--anyone--could argue with a straight face that Al Gore and climate scientists have perpetrated the idea of global warming to get rich. As if that's the side where the big money stands to be made.
Here are some of the key bits from the Independent's piece, which you can read in full here:
A complicated web of relationships revolves around a number of right-wing think-tanks around the world that dispute the threats of climate change. ExxonMobil is a key player behind the scenes, having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years to climate change sceptics. The Atlas Foundation, created by the late Sir Anthony Fisher (founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs), received more than $100,000 in 2008 from ExxonMobil, according to the oil company's reports.Atlas is just one group to receive money from Exxon, and even it then sets about spreading the funding to conservative anti-climate change blogs, organizations, and seminars.
An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming ... Free-market, anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.
Exactly Who is Brainwashed, Here?
Millions of dollars have been spent on such misinformation campaign, and not just from Exxon. Which is why I can't help but find it amusing that climate skeptics often tout with pride the idea that they're thinking independently, apart from the masses, who have somehow been brainwashed by a massive swindle. In truth, it's closer to the exact opposite--the so-called skeptics are simply buying into a line manufactured by corporations that are attempting to protect their interests (with their access to near-unlimited resources). The so-called 'brainwashed masses' have an appreciation and understanding of science--and are able to respect the scientific process.
Which is why when the vast consensus of climate scientists say the globe is warming due to man's irresponsible practices, I listen. And when oil giants like Exxon say it isn't, and that we should wait around and do nothing while they pump more oil--I don't.