Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ExxonMobile and Global Warming

The Union of Concerned Scientists has produced a report on big business's role in the debate over global warming. The report alleges that ExxonMobile funded proxy organizations and global warming skeptics to misinform the public on global warming. The report called Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air can be accessed as a pdf file here.

Some of the charges from the introduction are that ExxonMobile:

Manufactured uncertainty by raising doubts
about even the most indisputable scientific

Adopted a strategy of information laundering
by using seemingly independent front organizations
to publicly further its desired message
and thereby confuse the public.

Promoted scientific spokespeople who misrepresent
peer-reviewed scientific findings or
cherry-pick facts in their attempts to persuade
the media and the public that there is still
serious debate among scientists that burning
fossil fuels has contributed to global warming
and that human-caused warming will have
serious consequences.

Attempted to shift the focus away from meaningful
action on global warming with misleading
charges about the need for “sound science.”

Used its extraordinary access to the Bush
administration to block federal policies and
shape government communications on global
warming. (Emphasis mine)

The report makes an analogy with the Tobacco Industry and also charges that some of the same people involved in the disinformation campaign about the link between cancer and lung cancer were also involved in the global warming disinformation campaign. For here's what the report alleges about one group funded by ExxonMobile:

"It is also no surprise that the DCI Group'’s own
literature boasts that it specializes in what it calls
'“corporate grassroots campaigns'” and '“third party
support' for corporate clients, both code words
for the establishment and use of front organizations
to disseminate a company'’s message. The
group'’s managing partners, Tom Synhorst, Doug
Goodyear, and Tim Hyde, each honed their skills
in this area over the course of nearly a decade
working for the tobacco firm R.J. Reynolds.
Synhorst was a 'field coordinator' for R.J. Reynolds,
heading up work for the company on issues
such as state, local, and workplace smoking bans.
Goodyear worked for a PR firm called Walt Klein
and Associates that helped set up a fake grassroots
operations on behalf of R.J. Reynolds. And Hyde
served as senior director of public issues at R.J.
Reynolds from 1988 to 1997, overseeing all of
the company'’s PR campaigns."

More on DCI is here.

Again note the tie in with the Bush administration...but we have to ask...and this is news? It will be interesting to see how ExxonMobile and the Bush administration respond to this one.
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