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ExxonMobil ‘Linked to 9 of Top 10 Climate Skeptics’

ExxonMobil is connected to nine of the top ten authors of climate change denial papers, according to a “fact-check” website.

Analysis by The Carbon Brief found that the ten authors are responsible for 186 of the over 900 peer-reviewed papers skeptical of man-made global warming. The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate skeptic group, compiled the list of 900 papers that “promote skepticism of [anthropogenic global warming] or AGW alarm defined as, ‘concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic.’”

The Carbon Brief is headed by Tom Brookes, director of the Energy Strategy Centre, which is funded by the non-profit European Climate Foundation.

The most prolific climate-skeptic author on the list was Sherwood B. Idso, president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a think-tank which the Carbon Brief said has been funded by ExxonMobil. Idso authored or co-authored 67 of the 938 papers analyzed, or seven percent of the total.

The second most cited is Patrick J. Michaels, with 28 papers. Michaels has said that he receives about 40% of his funding from the oil industry.

Researchers Willie Soon and John R. Christy are both affiliated with the George C. Marshall Institute, which receives Exxon funds, the website found. Another author, Ross McKitrick, is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, which also benefits from Exxon funding, the Carbon Brief said.

Eight of the ten have direct links to ExxonMobil, the analysis found, while a ninth researcher, Bruce Kimball, is linked to the oil giant because all of his papers were co-authored with Sherwood Idso.

Many of the other names on the list are linked to think-tanks that receive money from the oil industry, the website says.

The Carbon Brief says its analysis is significant because it shows that climate skeptics constitute a small network of individuals, disputing skeptics’ assertion that there is significant scientific disagreement over the causes of climate change.

In a statement to Environmental Leader, ExxonMobil responded: “The post conveniently ignores the hundreds of millions of dollars we are investing in new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage the risk of climate change.

“We’ve committed $100 million to the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University.  We’ve invested $100 million in a new technology to help remove carbon dioxide from produced natural gas streams. We’ve committed $600 million in algae biofuels that could one day help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And, since 2005, we’ve spent more than $1.3 billion in activities to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

“The list of groups we fund can be found on our website. Also, more information on our position on climate change and steps we are taking to reduce emissions can be found here.”

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34 thoughts on “ExxonMobil ‘Linked to 9 of Top 10 Climate Skeptics’

  1. This article would be much more helpful if it told the reader what the total number of skeptics is. There are 900 articles cited, but were they authored by 50 authors or 600?

  2. It is naive to assume any company is looking out for our best interests, unless “our” refers to the company’s shareholders.

    I agree it is reprehensible for Exxon to support climate skeptics, but at least they are investing in renewables and carbon reduction – if only to own the patents and rights to the next generation of power creation.

    I agree with the above contributor in that it would be nice to see how many total authors there are producing tripe for the climate skeptic “peer reviewed” papers. (Are 10 chimps among themselves considered peers?) Just to have a statistic to use to marginalize them, in addition to their own transparently self serving psuedoscience they practice.

    Anyhow, I’m happy that industry is finally moving past this childish denunciation of science and getting to the real business of dealing with reality and making it profitable.

    Now, we must deal with what caused this delay in the first place… Should we distinguish between healthy capitalism that serves the population that supports it and savage capitalism that cannibalizes the very population that supports it? America is a modern day Easter Island and we’ve got some lessons to learn and time to learn them before its too late. Should it be illegal or celebrated for a corporation to hungrily devour anything in its way towards profit? The answer seems obvious to me, but I’m not a policy maker.

  3. This nonsense is refuted,

    Rebuttal to “Analysing the ‘900 papers supporting climate scepticism’: 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil”

    When confronted with the irrefutable fact that an overwhelming number of peer-reviewed papers exist supporting skeptic arguments, desperate alarmists like Christian will always turn to whatever smear they can come up with, in this case the tired old one that the authors were “funded” by oil companies. What is falsely implied is that these scientists are corrupt and oil companies are paying them to be skeptical. This is an easy argument to prove, you simply need to show that these scientists changed their position on AGW after receiving a monetary donation from an oil company. Alarmists never show this because they cannot. These scientists all held a skeptical position prior to receiving any monetary donations. Any monetary donations these scientists received was because the donor agreed with the scientific position that the scientist already held. Alarmists cannot comprehend this irrefutable logic because they emotionally refuse to accept that there are credentialed scientists who do not share their beliefs.

    Alarmist Challenge:

    The claims of this article have not been shown to be true. It is falsely implied that if a scientist went to a meeting for coffee and donuts hosted by an organizati­on that in the last 20 years received a $5 donation from a fossil fuel company that scientist is now “funded by the fossil fuel industry”.

    – Please provide actual documents irrefutabl­y demonstrat­ing direct fossil fuel company funding for any scientist.

    – Then prove that the same scientist has received enough energy company donations to sustain all their research over the years.

    – Finally prove that the same scientist changed their scientific position regarding AGW due to a monetary donation and did not hold a skeptical position prior to the donation.

    http://z4.invisionfree.com/Popular_Technology/index.php?showtopic=4030

  4. The supposedly “irrefutable fact that an overwhelming number of peer-reviewed papers exist supporting skeptic arguments”; is not irrefutable – because it is not a fact. The true fact is that an overwhelming number of peer-reviewed scientific papers exist that support the global climate change hypothesis. And others also exist that demonstrate how skeptical ‘papers’ are filled with incorrect scientific reasoning, manipulated data, and false conclusions.

    “Please provide actual documents irrefutabl­y demonstrat­ing direct fossil fuel company funding for any scientist”. Coming right up –
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/global_warming_contrarians/exxonmobil-report-smoke.html – see Appendix B in particular (page 31).

  5. As a California Government official I met many expert PHDs who testified against alternative energy concepts before the California legislature and a number of them confirmed that they say only what their Oil Industry employers directed them to say, even if it is a lie. That is why they are well paid and professional they say. They are not allowed to say what they really think about energy and the environment. This is a true statement and I have the records from the 1970s and 1980s to support this matter.

  6. Well, who to believe?

    Poptech – who is a computer engineer with zero climate science credibility and a blog site dedicated to spreading misinformation; or every single science organisation in the world, including NASA, NOAA, CSIRO, BOM, Royal Society, etc, etc, etc?

    Hmmmm – who should I go with?

  7. It would seem that when the link between carbon and climate change becomes irrefutably accepted, which it inevitably will, companies engaged in disinformation will be held liable as were the tobacco companies. Only this time the class action suit will include exponentially more participants.

  8. Poptech does make a valid assertion that simple connection to a funding source does not necessarily prove complicit behavior across the history of the peer reviewed science by the skeptic involved. But in reality does it matter now? What has allowed them to be so prolific is this funding. To argue that not knowing the exact date of funding and whether or not it is prior to the development of the skeptical hypothesis is irrelevant. Highlighting the backer of the skeptical hypothesis is just important to understanding their role in the current wishwash of debate about AGW. This begs the question: would a skeptical position even continue to thrive if not for the funding by players like Exxon?

    Science and it’s realworld applications have been dependent on R&D funding from both the public and private sector for years. The difference being in this case that this funding directly supports a position that is the profit and business motive of the company investing in an interest to protect future profits. This is all well and good but places them in the same position as mentioned earlier of becoming something more akin to lobbyism, similar to the tobacco industry mentioned above in previous comments. Regardless of the massive R&D in alternatives by Exxon, having the technology available as a contingent plan is as much part of their business strategy as stalling a widespread weaning from our oil addiction. Alternative fuels will be necessary of course but only after stalling the widespread switch so much that they will have pulled everybit of profit out of their current operations possible. Post peak will see some of the most profitable quarters in Exxon’s history. Don’t believe me? Last year was the most profitable ever for them.

  9. This is actually worrying to me since back in the day that mega list of 900 articles? I noticed lots of crap on it, and it took me about a year to really let go of soft science skeptical arguments that made me come off as a hack. Now I rely only on official data sources, and no longer debate statistical fine points.

    The good news is that the sky is falling very slowly, according to real centuries old thermometer records:

    http://oi49.tinypic.com/rc93fa.jpg

    I wonder if Oxford trained journalist Alexander Cockburn is oil funded too?:

    Are oil funded facts simply false no matter what?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n92YenWfz0Y&feature=youtube_gdata_player%20

    I wonder if government funded ice core data is utterly unreliable too?:

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim_hi-def3.gif

    Personally, I imagine we’d all be better off sticking to self-funded psychopaths:

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim_hi-def3.gif

  10. The mindless grunt of “all the scientists agree” was nothing more than political correctness on steroids from neocon-like, goose stepping fear mongers of CO2 environMENTALism who took glee in condemning billions of children to a CO2 death just to get them to turn the lights out more often. And meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of climate control instead of needed population control.

  11. From atop Poptech’s perch there is a shining benefit. When you are ignorant and incorrect, you are unaware of either. However, it is something altogether more fiendish to spread misinformation willfully.

  12. “Love NOT CO2 FEAR”, Please reorganize that incoherent babbling into something more like a complete thought. Run on sentences full of buzzwords are funny, but not informative.

  13. if anyone is naive enough to think that funding will not persuade the author to spin the research, then no amount of evidence will. it is almost like saying that all the lobbying by the nra has no effect of gun laws, or lack there of.

  14. “I wonder if government funded ice core data is utterly unreliable too?:” NikFromNYC need not worry much about this.

    It is hard to imagine any benefit that might accrue to a government via the deliberate spreading of false information in favor of the climate change hypothesis. Indeed, the more the hypothesis is accepted, the more it will likely cost governments the world over to address the problem. If anything, individuals within government are more likely to receive campaign contributions from oil & coal interests, and therefore they are more likely to favor those interests in the debate.

    In contrast, ExxonMobil and others are clearly benefitted by spreading misinformation that disfavors the hypothesis. After all, their whole business model is based on our continued fossil fuel consumption.

    The clear conclusion is that climate research that is largely funded by oil & coal interests is highly likely to be biased. And climate research largely funded by governments is more likely to be free of such special-interest-driven biases.

    Love NOT CO2 FEAR: you should therefore re-word your post to read “all the non-special-interest-funded scientists agree”. And remove the mindless drivel that you attached to the remark. “Goose stepping fear mongers” – really???

  15. NikFromNYC, you make a bold attempt at providing climate data from reputable sources – but fail in relevance to the debate at hand.

    There have obviously been climate changes since the history of the planet and subsequently since our emergence as the dominant species. This is not news to anyone interested in climate change. What is in question here is our influence on Earth’s climate since our population and industry explosions caused by our harnessing fossil fuel as a power source.

    The links you provided pointed to climate records hundreds of years old, but that is not where the debate is. We used a barely measurable amount of fossil fuels in the year 1800. By 1900 humans were using around 600 million tons of carbon based fuels per year. By the year 2000 we have increased that use by about 2000%, to over 9 billion tons of carbon based fuels per year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel

    Fossil fuel produces C02 as a byproduct when burned. This is not debatable.

    Huge amounts of C02 have existed in Earth’s atmosphere before, at levels that would not sustain life as we know it today. This information is contained in the fossil record, and described daily by the term “Fossil Fuels”. This is also beyond debate unless you adhere to creationism. If that’s the case, then consider God placed billions of tons of dead plant matter already ready for us to harvest from the earth and burn, which still produces C02.

    “Fossil Fuels” are called such because they are largely from the Carboniferous Period, where huge amounts of C02 existing in Earth’s atmosphere created a hot swampy climate around much of the planet. This provided the perfect conditions for a massive explosion of plant life that fed on the heat, C02, and sunlight – and eventually died and created the “Fossil Fuels” we use these days.

    This is quite an abridged version Earth’s history – but the point is that you are correct in assuming climate change is cyclical, but ignorant in not considering we are not vastly accelerating the release of carbon back into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

    We wouldn’t technically be “changing” the planet by releasing all of the stored c02 and returning the atmosphere to Precambrian levels, but it’s not habitable for current-Earth ecosystems – humans, their food supplies, most animals larger than small fish, etc.

    Maybe everyone concerned with global warming is overreacting. Maybe we’re just afraid of a little old-school earth climate. Maybe we’re afraid for good reason as this is not old-school earth.

    Earth is an enterprise run by humans now and our fates are intertwined. If you believe in God, then assume he expects us to manage ourselves and our resources wisely. If you do not believe in a god, then extend the responsibility you have over your own life to the preservation of the species, and thus the planet we call home. It is important that you live and live well, as it is also important that future humans have the same opportunity. This is not the only problem in the world, but certainly one worth respectful consideration, earnest scientific research and subsequent policy-craft and governance.

  16. Doug makes a valuable point. What is the likelihood of a multi-national coalition of state funded science to be biased in comparison to private sector sponsored science? One must always be critical of the agenda behind the science, and in doing so it is much easier to unravel the agenda of private sector science, vs. state funded.

    We get it skeptics. What you reckon is a massive shift in the way we live ours lives, a change in the status quo that has until this point been about massive unhampered growth as a result of unrestrained use of fossil energy. What is the agenda of all of these state interests? To make you miserable? To make you live more sustainability? To curtail your rampant fossil energy spending spree? Where is the harm in this?

  17. Doug | May 9th, 2011, the paper provides no evidence of direct funding, instead it makes the same silly guilt by association arguments.

    Please provide evidence of direct funding to any scientist from ExxonMobil and then evidence of corruption.

  18. Are Skeptical Scientists funded by ExxonMobil?

    In an article titled, “Analysing the ‘900 papers supporting climate scepticism’: 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil” from the environmental activist website The Carbon Brief, former Greenpeace “researcher” Christian Hunt failed to do basic research. He made no attempt to contact the scientists he unjustly attacked and instead used biased and corrupt websites like DeSmogBlog to smear them as “linked to” [funded by] ExxonMobil.

    To get to the truth, I emailed the scientists mentioned in the article the following questions;

    1. Have you ever received direct funding from ExxonMobil?

    2. Do funding sources have any influence over your scientific work?

    3. Has your scientific position regarding climate change ever changed due to a funding source?

    4. Please include any additional comment on the article,

    Their responses follow,

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2011/05/are-skeptical-scientists-funded-by.html

  19. Poptech – having read through the responses from the scientists you contacted, it blows away the alarmists ‘Big Oil Shill’ accusations. Those scientists should be praised for making a stand, not demonised by the alarmists as heretical modern-day Galileos.
    There are (literally) trillions of dollars being made by those tied-up in the AGW scam – alarmists have a cheek to start accusing others of profiteering.

  20. Poptech, in direct contradiction to your false assertions, the article compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists does indeed provide direct evidence of ExxonMobil funding of climate change deniers. Had you bothered to actually follow through on the references cited in the article, you would have discovered additional evidence.

    Furthermore, there is no need to engage in direct contact with skeptics to ask them about their funding. Really, are you THAT naive as to actually take them at their word when they respond to questions like “Do funding sources have any influence over your scientific work”? LOL. How would anyone’s answer to that be anything other than ‘no’ – regardless of the actual truth?

    @Andy, the same applies to you. How can you be so naive? Liar and truth-teller alike would respond similarly to such questions. It is not what skeptics claim about their funding or their biases that matters – what is important is the truth. And the truth is arrived at via independent lines of inquiry such as that conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists – an organization with no vested interest in the results of their inquiry, nor with any vested interests in the climate change hypothesis itself.

    Both of your postings are typical of closed-minded reactions that reveal more about your own pre-determined opinions than they do about the issues at hand.

  21. And Andy, your unfounded assertion that “(literally) trillions of dollars [are] being made by those tied-up in the AGW scam” is likewise completely lacking any credible citations, references, or any other material that reliably backs up such a claim. Really, you are merely casting unresearched and unproven accusations. And that action might stir the pot of emotions, but it does nothing to help get at any truth. Before you complain about the cheek of others, you should start by contemplating your own.

  22. Poptech, let’s examine your statements in their proper context.

    1) You claim that sending email questions to skeptics is a valid way to investigate their honesty and integrity. And you blindly accept their responses as truth. But the skeptics are, in fact, the least objective source of information in any investigation into their possible biases. They are subjective, with a clear vested interest in protecting their reputations, protecting their funding streams, etc. Of course they will claim to be bias-free, and will also be loathe to admit to any Big Oil funding. The skeptics themselves are, by far, the least reliable source of information with respect to this point. Your faithful acceptance of their statements about bias represents a complete suspension of disbelief – you are attending the Church of Climate Change Skepticism in full degree by your unquestioning acceptance of their claims.

    2) In contrast, you attack the UCS and the conclusions they reach, even though they are a far more objective source of information. They have no vested interest in the outcome of their inquiry. They have no vested interest in the AGW hypothesis. Such independent sources with no vested interests are a far more reliable way to arrive at the truth.

    Points 1 and 2, combined, are clear evidence that you engage in this discussion with a closed mind and with pre-determined opinions.

    I can assure you that you understand little, if anything, about my system of beliefs. I haven’t even mentioned any of my beliefs – this whole series of postings has been about evaluating different lines of evidence and inquiry. I follow the independent lines of inquiry, the documented evidence that is uncovered, and the logical conclusions that result. Beliefs are not a part of my line of argument.

  23. And I stand by my statement that the UCS article does provide independent, documented, objective evidence of skeptic funding by Big Oil. I admit that one has to have an open mind to fully appreciate the article and the evidence that it provides – so I understand why you are unable to do so.

  24. 1. You have failed to support your conspiracy theories and continue to libel honest and highly credentialed scientists.

    2. I have demonstrated above that the UCS is a biased environmental advocacy organization and is not an “independent” source. When you can find remotely anything from a reputable news source to back up your conspiracy theories let me know.

    Guilt by association is not evidence of “funded by”.

    I only accept evidence not propaganda.

  25. “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
    Arthur Schopenhauer
    German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

    No one has yet been able to explain what the benefit of “lying” that global climate change is in fact happening? But there is plenty of evidence that lying the opposite is at the very least lucrative.

  26. Poptech,

    1) I have never advanced any “conspiracy theories”. Your charge in this regard is absurd. My statements that Big Oil is, and has been, funding many skeptics; are backed up by objective, documented evidence. And referencing that documented evidence does not constitute the advancement of a conspiracy theory. Your claims that skeptics have not been funded by Big Oil, have not been backed up by any credible, objective, independent documents or other forms of evidence. QED – your position is almost certainly incorrect, regardless of your postings to the contrary. My references to documented evidence of Big Oil funding, does not constitute “libel” either. I am merely referencing publically available documents that provide such funding evidence. And your opinion that the skeptics involved are “honest”, is just that – merely your opinion. You offer no evidence in support of that opinion. Nothing wrong with your holding such an opinion, I merely point out that it is your opinion, not an established fact.

    2) The fact of the matter is that the UCS has no vested interests in where skeptic funding might come from, nor in the AGW hypothesis itself (points that you continue to studiously ignore). Therefore, you have not demonstrated any possible bias, nor have you demonstrated that they have any dependency with respect to this debate. Compare that fact to the huge vested interests held by the skeptics involved, and by their Big Oil supporters – vested interests that are clear to be seen by all observers (and also a point you continue to studiously ignore). The difference is night and day.

    3) Apparently, you accept no evidence. Even when it is presented to you on a silver platter. Instead, you cling to your disproven denier position in the face of such evidence; and limit yourself to propagandistic attempts to attack the evidence, the source of the evidence, and the people who present that evidence to you. All are typical denier tactics. Indeed, your closed-minded reiterations of the same falsehoods, coupled with your lack of critical thinking skills, seasoned with a lack of reasoned arguments; causes you to tread the same fruitless ground over and over. Again, this is characteristic of many climate change deniers.

  27. 1. ROFLMAO! How do I prove someone is NOT doing something? Are you insane?

    You don’t have ANY documentation showing big oil funding skeptical scientists. All you have done here is continue to smear reputable scientists because they don’t support your scientific opinion. You are dishonest and lack integrity.

    2. The UCS is an enviromental activist group that is biased,

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6631

    Your continued dishonesty on their irrefutable bias is chilling as to the depths alarmists such as yourself will go.

    3. You don’t have ANY evidence. You have guilt by association and other lies. Maybe the ignorant will fall for your dirty tricks but those with integrity and intellect will not.

    You are losing big boy, deal with it.

  28. My, Poptech, are we starting to lose a teeny bit of self-control here?

    I stand fully by my statements, to wit:

    1) Actually, I agree that you have been completely unable to support your position that the skeptics are not receiving Big Oil funding – because I have already provided clear evidence that they are. Evidence that you have been unable to refute.

    2) You have presented zero evidence or support for your beliefs. The only thing you have provided is a silly list of email questions, and your naive acceptance of the responses the skeptics provided. By way of analogy, do you also accept, unquestioningly, the denials made by criminals; when confronted with evidence of their crimes? When investigating ANYONE, be they a criminal, a scientist, or anybody else, it is always best to seek independent lines of evidence; rather than relying on the statements of the people being investigated. Almost all judges, lawyers, and even scientists themselves agree on this point. Even most children would understand that.

    3) You have likewise offered no proof that the UCS is biased. Once again, I remind you that the UCS has no vested interests in the issues at hand. The UCS is a far more valid, far more reliable, and far more objective source of evidence. Once again, you continue to ignore this simple fact – not surprisingly. And using phrasings like “their irrefutable bias” does nothing to provide any support for your charge. You are simply making unfounded claims – indeed, it is you who are engaging in libel and in a smear campaign. And your charge that the UCS is “a left wing environmental advocacy organization” is simply an appellation that has no bearing on the truth. I could as easily have said that the web link you keep providing is that of a right-wing organization. Would you therefore agree that the material posted on that website is not to be trusted?

    4) This is not even a ‘win or lose’ contest, as you are trying to portray it. I am simply quoting from independent sources of evidence and drawing the most logical conclusions. You don’t have to agree with me – in fact, I never expected you to. You appear to be irrevocably married to your illogical, biased, unsupported, and outright laughable position – and that’s fine with me. I merely point out, and will continue to point out; your errors of logic, your false claims, your obvious denier tactics that attempt to avoid rational debate altogether, your unsupported libelous statements, and other inconsistencies and weaknesses in your postings. And I’m happy to deal with that.

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