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Old Dec 04, 2006, 12:42 PM
Alarm Bells Continuing!
Big Foot 48's Avatar
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Senators to ExxonMobil: "Shut Up or Else!"

That's how I and the Wall Street Journal interpret this letter. I wonder how Snow and Rockefeller voted on the Kyoto treaty?

Quote:
October 27, 2006

Mr. Rex W. Tillerson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
ExxonMobil Corporation
5959 Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving, TX 75039

Dear Mr. Tillerson:

Allow us to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your first year as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the ExxonMobil Corporation. You will become the public face of an undisputed leader in the world energy industry, and a company that plays a vital role in our national economy. As that public face, you will have the ability and responsibility to lead ExxonMobil toward its rightful place as a good corporate and global citizen.

We are writing to appeal to your sense of stewardship of that corporate citizenship as U.S. Senators concerned about the credibility of the United States in the international community, and as Americans concerned that one of our most prestigious corporations has done much in the past to adversely affect that credibility. We are convinced that ExxonMobil’s longstanding support of a small cadre of global climate change skeptics, and those skeptics access to and influence on government policymakers, have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy.

Obviously, other factors complicate our foreign policy. However, we are persuaded that the climate change denial strategy carried out by and for ExxonMobil has helped foster the perception that the United States is insensitive to a matter of great urgency for all of mankind, and has thus damaged the stature of our nation internationally. It is our hope that under your leadership, ExxonMobil would end its dangerous support of the “deniers.” Likewise, we look to you to guide ExxonMobil to capitalize on its significant resources and prominent industry position to assist this country in taking its appropriate leadership role in promoting the technological innovation necessary to address climate change and in fashioning a truly global solution to what is undeniably a global problem.

While ExxonMobil’s activity in this area is well-documented, we are somewhat encouraged by developments that have come to light during your brief tenure. We fervently hope that reports that ExxonMobil intends to end its funding of the climate change denial campaign of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) are true. Similarly, we have seen press reports that your British subsidiary has told the Royal Society, Great Britain’s foremost scientific academy, that ExxonMobil will stop funding other organizations with similar purposes. However, a casual review of available literature, as performed by personnel for the Royal Society reveals that ExxonMobil is or has been the primary funding source for the “skepticism” of not only CEI, but for dozens of other overlapping and interlocking front groups sharing the same obfuscation agenda. For this reason, we share the goal of the Royal Society that ExxonMobil “come clean” about its past denial activities, and that the corporation take positive steps by a date certain toward a new and more responsible corporate citizenship.

ExxonMobil is not alone in jeopardizing the credibility and stature of the United States. Large corporations in related industries have joined ExxonMobil to provide significant and consistent financial support of this pseudo-scientific, non-peer reviewed echo chamber. The goal has not been to prevail in the scientific debate, but to obscure it. This climate change denial confederacy has exerted an influence out of all proportion to its size or relative scientific credibility. Through relentless pressure on the media to present the issue “objectively,” and by challenging the consensus on climate change science by misstating both the nature of what “consensus” means and what this particular consensus is, ExxonMobil and its allies have confused the public and given cover to a few senior elected and appointed government officials whose positions and opinions enable them to damage U.S. credibility abroad.

Climate change denial has been so effective because the “denial community” has mischaracterized the necessarily guarded language of serious scientific dialogue as vagueness and uncertainty. Mainstream media outlets, attacked for being biased, help lend credence to skeptics’ views, regardless of their scientific integrity, by giving them relatively equal standing with legitimate scientists. ExxonMobil is responsible for much of this bogus scientific “debate” and the demand for what the deniers cynically refer to as “sound science.”

A study to be released in November by an American scientific group will expose ExxonMobil as the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate change denial front groups in 2004 alone. Besides a shared goal, these groups often featured common staffs and board members. The study will estimate that ExxonMobil has spent more than $19 million since the late 1990s on a strategy of “information laundering,” or enabling a small number of professional skeptics working through scientific-sounding organizations to funnel their viewpoints through non-peer-reviewed websites such as Tech Central Station. The Internet has provided ExxonMobil the means to wreak its havoc on U.S. credibility, while avoiding the rigors of refereed journals. While deniers can easily post something calling into question the scientific consensus on climate change, not a single refereed article in more than a decade has sought to refute it.

Indeed, while the group of outliers funded by ExxonMobil has had some success in the court of public opinion, it has failed miserably in confusing, much less convincing, the legitimate scientific community. Rather, what has emerged and continues to withstand the carefully crafted denial strategy is an insurmountable scientific consensus on both the problem and causation of climate change. Instead of the narrow and inward-looking universe of the deniers, the legitimate scientific community has developed its views on climate change through rigorous peer-reviewed research and writing across all climate-related disciplines and in virtually every country on the globe.

Where most scientists dispassionate review of the facts has moved past acknowledgement to mitigation strategies, ExxonMobil’s contribution the overall politicization of science has merely bolstered the views of U.S. government officials satisfied to do nothing. Rather than investing in the development of technologies that might see us through this crisis—and which may rival the computer as a wellspring of near-term economic growth around the world—ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years. The net result of this unfortunate campaign has been a diminution of this nation’s ability to act internationally, and not only in environmental matters.

In light of the adverse impacts still resulting from your corporations activities, we must request that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth. Further, we believe ExxonMobil should take additional steps to improve the public debate, and consequently the reputation of the United States. We would recommend that ExxonMobil publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it. Second, ExxonMobil should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history. Finally, we believe that there would be a benefit to the United States if one of the world’s largest carbon emitters headquartered here devoted at least some of the money it has invested in climate change denial pseudo-science to global remediation efforts. We believe this would be especially important in the developing world, where the disastrous effects of global climate change are likely to have their most immediate and calamitous impacts.

Each of us is committed to seeing the United States officially reengage and demonstrate leadership on the issue of global climate change. We are ready to work with you and any other past corporate sponsor of the denial campaign on proactive strategies to promote energy efficiency, to expand the use of clean, alternative, and renewable fuels, to accelerate innovation to responsibly extend the useful life of our fossil fuel reserves, and to foster greater understanding of the necessity of action on a truly global scale before it is too late.

Sincerely,

John D. Rockefeller IV
Olympia Snowe
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Old Dec 04, 2006, 12:43 PM
Cat Rack
MtnGoat's Avatar
Lyle, WA
Joined Dec 2000
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Please go along with the group think...or else.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 11:14 AM
Alarm Bells Continuing!
Big Foot 48's Avatar
Arizona
Joined Oct 2001
276 Posts
A British Lord responds to the Senators. It certainly seems global warming has become a religion, with those disagreeing shunned and banished.

Quote:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists. (http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20061212_monckton.pdf).

Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, writes: "You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials' who disagree with your opinion."

In what The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail has called "an intemperate attempt to squelch debate with a hint of political consequences," Senators Rockefeller and Snowe released an open letter dated October 30 to ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, insisting he end Exxon's funding of a "climate change denial campaign." The Senators labeled scientists with whom they disagree as "deniers," a term usually directed at "Holocaust deniers." Some voices on the political left have called for the arrest and prosecution of skeptical scientists. The British Foreign Secretary has said skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and must be denied access to the media.

Responds Lord Monckton, "Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument and they compel necessary corrections ... "

Lord Monckton's Churchillian reproof continues, "You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate sceptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretence to uphold or cherish academic freedom."

Of Britain's Royal Society, a State-funded scientific body which, like the Senators, has publicly leaned on ExxonMobil, Lord Monckton said, "The Society's long-standing funding by taxpayers does not ensure any greater purity of motive or rigour of thought than industrial funding of scientists who dare to question whether 'climate change' will do any harm."

To the Senators' comparison of ExxonMobil's funding of climate sceptics with tobacco-industry funding of research denying the link between smoking and lung cancer, Lord Monckton counters, "Your comparison of Exxon's funding of sceptical scientists and groups with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold."

Concludes Lord Monckton, "I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer- reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call 'disastrous' and 'calamitous' consequences."

SOURCE Center for Science and Public Policy
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 12:35 PM
Useful Idiot
Asturias, Spain
Joined Mar 2001
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A little background on the "Churchillian" Viscount Monkton.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...947248,00.html
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 12:42 PM
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MtnGoat's Avatar
Lyle, WA
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Background or not, his points remain salient...Exxon has the right to fund climate skeptics, and science does not benefit from having people not question "consensus" views. Nor should anyone in an official capacity be telling someone else, person or corporation, what their free speech should be used for or in service of.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 01:27 PM
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I would think that his rushing to Exxon's defence of "free speach" is more related to his obvious personal interest in the subject than to any altruistic principles (can we just assume, for the benefit of debate, that they do exist on this occasion, Goat?). Of course, if Exxon's right to "free speech" is moot, then why do they need to exercise it through front organisations instead of having the courage of their convictions to use it themselves?
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 01:39 PM
You win again, gravity!
Muxje's Avatar
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Joined Jun 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin richards
I would think that his rushing to Exxon's defence of "free speach" is more related to his obvious personal interest in the subject than to any altruistic principles (can we just assume, for the benefit of debate, that they do exist on this occasion, Goat?). Of course, if Exxon's right to "free speech" is moot, then why do they need to exercise it through front organisations instead of having the courage of their convictions to use it themselves?
Why would a personal interest make his points any less valid?

I have the same issue with this statement as I have with most of these attacks on the "denier" scientists. Instead of attacking their science, logic and reasoning, it is their person, integrity and motives that are called into question. And as soon as you do that, you leave the scientific arena and are left with baseless name calling.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin richards
I would think that his rushing to Exxon's defence of "free speach" is more related to his obvious personal interest in the subject than to any altruistic principles (can we just assume, for the benefit of debate, that they do exist on this occasion, Goat?). Of course, if Exxon's right to "free speech" is moot, then why do they need to exercise it through front organisations instead of having the courage of their convictions to use it themselves?
I found this 3 clicks into Exxon-Mobile's website...

Quote:
Uncertainty and risk
While assessments such as those of the IPCC have expressed growing confidence that recent warming trends can be attributed to increases in greenhouse gasses, these conclusions rely on expert judgement rather than objective reproducible statistical methods. LINK
So they have plenty of courage to express those convictions themselves.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Lyle, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martin richards
I would think that his rushing to Exxon's defence of "free speach" is more related to his obvious personal interest in the subject than to any altruistic principles (can we just assume, for the benefit of debate, that they do exist on this occasion, Goat?). Of course, if Exxon's right to "free speech" is moot, then why do they need to exercise it through front organisations instead of having the courage of their convictions to use it themselves?
since when was the right to free speech qualified by who the speech serves? I wasn't aware that now even our speech must meet a standard where it serves 'society' instead of the individual.

they pay the organizations because they have the expertise to front the message. Am I now to assume you will likewise criticize other organizations as well for paying for advocacy? Shall we take a look at 'front' groups folks you agree with, use?
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Old Dec 20, 2006, 04:39 AM
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Treetop's Avatar
Tucker, Georgia, United States
Joined Feb 2004
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Quote:
SOURCE Center for Science and Public Policy
Quote:
“The Center for Sound Science and Public Policy (CSSPP) is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy organization. CSSPP relies on scientific experts in many nations and the vast body of peer-reviewed literature to help lawmakers, policy makers, and the media distinguish between scientific findings that are agenda-driven and those that are based on accepted scientific methods and practices. In a timely manner, the Center's Science Watch Team alerts policy makers, the media, and the public to unreliable scientific claims and unjustified alarmism which often lead to public harm. We strive for a fair and balanced examination of science.” (http://ff.org/centers/csspp/misc/index.html; accessed 4/21/05)

The Center for Sound Science and Public Policy, also appearing under the name of the Center for Science and Public Policy, is run by the Frontiers of Freedom Foundation, an organization founded and chaired by former Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming. Frontiers of Freedom receives money from tobacco and oil companies, including Philip Morris, ExxonMobil and RJ Reynolds Tobacco. Frontiers of Freedom Institute and Foundation has received $467,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. (http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/org...eet.php?id=35; accessed 4/20/05) According to the New York Times, Frontiers for Freedom received $230,000 out of its $700,000 annual budget from Exxon in 2002, up from $40,000 in 2001. (Lee, John. "Exxon backs groups that question global warming," The New York Times, 5/28/03) Malcolm Wallop has been a board of directors member of the El Paso Natural Gas Company since 1995. (PR Newswire, “El Paso Natural Gas Company names new director,” 1/13/95)

ExxonMobil direct donations to the Center for Sound Science and Public Policy/Center for Science and Public Policy:

2002: $100,000 Source: ExxonMobil 2002 Annual Report (http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/...eport2002.asp; accessed 4/21/05)

2003: $50,000 Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report (http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/...eport2003.asp; accessed 4/21/05)
http://www.cspinet.org/integrity/non...ic_policy.html

Nonpartisan, nonprofit?
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Old Dec 20, 2006, 04:40 AM
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Tucker, Georgia, United States
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Quote:
Shall we take a look at 'front' groups folks you agree with, use? - goat
By all means. Show me.
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