Wednesday, January 03, 2007

UCS Report on ExxonMobil's "Manufacturing Uncertainty"

Via ABC News, the Union of Concerned Scientists has added another nail to the coffin of institutional climate change skepticism with the release of its report Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to "Manufacture Uncertainty" on Climate Change. According to the organization, the oil company:
...has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science. (my emphasis)

"ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer," said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Director of Strategy & Policy. "A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years."
In many ways, this isn't news: ExxonMobil has been pretty brazen about its efforts to stoke conflict on climate change, despite the wide consensus in the climate science community. Seeing the actual numbers is a bit staggering, and not just the money spent -- there are "43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science?" Man, the funding must be good for climate change skepticism! To be "fair and balanced," I seem to remember reading that EM had announced it wouldn't be funding these efforts any more -- can someone confirm that? Of course, Pandora's box has been opened already.... more funds may not be needed.

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