Exxon-backed groups used this infusion of oil money to build the frenzy surrounding the “Climategate” non-scandal and other efforts to derail progress towards an international agreement to fight climate change at the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen last winter.
The Times article notes [subscription required]:
Several [of the Exxon-funded groups] made outspoken attacks on climate scientists at the University of East Anglia and argued their leaked e-mails showed that the dangers of global warming had been grossly exaggerated.The Times then goes on to discuss how Exxon had pledged in 2007 to stop funding climate denier groups:
The scientists were exonerated this month by an independent inquiry but groups funded by Exxon have continued to lambast them. The Media Research Centre, which received $50,000 last year from Exxon, called the inquiry a "whitewash" and condemned "climate alarmists".
Some of Exxon's largest donations were to groups that lobbied against a global deal on emissions being reached at the climate summit last December in Copenhagen.
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."Whoops. And how would Exxon respond to the fact that they didn't make good on their pledge to stop funding denier groups? By regurgitating that commitment:
Exxon also gave reassurances last year that it had no funding links with the sceptics' biggest annual conference, the International Conference on Climate Change. 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 sceptic groups.
After being contacted by The Times, Exxon announced that it would no longer fund the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Media Research Centre or the Pacific Research Institute. Exxon did not comment on whether it would continue to fund the other 21 sceptic groups to which it gave money last year.Riiiiiiight. We believe that, just as we believed BP when they pledged to plug the gaping hole at the bottom of the Gulf in a timely fashion.
It said in a statement: "We fund a wide range of groups. Every year, we do an evaluation and make funding decisions.
If a group's position on climate change becomes distracting or diverts attention away from this important discussion, we evaluate whether we will continue funding." Exxon said it selected groups because of their work "on a variety of issues, for example Heritage Foundation to further discussion on tax and trade issues".