In England, Outrage Over ExxonMobil's Continued Ties to Climate-Change Skeptics

Beginning in 2006, 'round the time Rex Tillerson replaced Lee Raymond as CEO of Irving-based ExxonMobil, the company said it would cut funding to public-policy groups whose policy it was to deny in public the existence of climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, matter of fact, the company was very open about the break-up with some of those denial groups; in a Corporate Citizenship Report, Exxon said it would "discontinue contributions to several public policy interest groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner." An Exxon spokesman told Reuters in May '08 that those groups included the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Frontiers of Freedom Institute and the Institute for Energy Research, all of which sound like organizations Chris Buckley might have invented.

But in recent days, the English and Australian press, fueled by a British researcher's outrage, have noted that Exxon hasn't broken up with all its girlfriends. Bob Ward -- policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute, based out of the London School of Economics -- thumbed through Exxon's financials and discovered it's still giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups who spread what Ward calls "misleading and inaccurate information about climate change." One of those groups, matter of fact, is the hometown-based National Center for Policy Analysis, whose "Global Warming" homepage warns that "while the causes and consequences of the earth's current warming trend is still unknown, the cost of actions to substantially reduce CO2 emissions would be quite high and result in economic decline, accelerated environmental destruction, and do little or nothing to prevent global warming regardless of its cause."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky