T Nation

The Philosophy of ExxonMobil

Since there is a philosophy discussion going on elsewhere… :wink:

Anyway, a bit of the story:

Scientists accuse Exxon Mobil of discrediting global warming
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/4441543.html

[i]WASHINGTON - Exxon Mobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists asserted today.

The report by the science-based nonprofit advocacy group mirrors similar claims by Britain’s leading scientific academy. Last September, The Royal Society wrote the oil company asking it to halt support for groups that “misrepresented the science of climate change.”

Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the scientific advocacy group’s report.
[/i]
Also, yes, I’m fully aware, the groups decrying Exxon Mobile are themselves decried by those that don’t support the view that global warming is something we need to worry about.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Also, yes, I’m fully aware, the groups decrying Exxon Mobile are themselves decried by those that don’t support the view that global warming is something we need to worry about.[/quote]

And who supports them financially?

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
And who supports them financially?[/quote]

Dude, I think I was already pretty fair by stepping out and saying so up-front.

Although, I’m not sure the groups that support them are caught in quite as explicit a conflict of interest as Exxon Mobil.

Heh, the report in the Houston Chronicle is not as harsh as this one put out by Reuters… :wink:

ExxonMobil cultivates global warming doubt -report

[i]Energy giant ExxonMobil borrowed tactics from the tobacco industry to raise doubt about climate change, spending $16 million on groups that question global warming, a science watchdog group said on Wednesday.

“ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile , Research) has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said at a telephone news conference releasing the report.

An ExxonMobil spokesman did not respond immediately to calls for comment.

The union, a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest publicly traded corporation, had succeeded in parlaying a relatively modest investment into unwarranted public doubt on findings that have been overwhelmingly endorsed by mainstream science.
[/i]

If you are a global warming junky, here is a huge pile of news…

http://heatwatch.blogspot.com/

Maybe the Royal Society should just show how those groups are misrepresenting the science of global warming.

I’ve seen a lot of bad science from the human-caused pro-GW side too.

Ironically - and unfortunately - it seems the more politicized that debate becomes, the less we actually know. Every study has its counter-study; every example from either side gets a counter example. Various groups looking for grants and donations are ready to espouse any cause, as long as it lines their pockets.

I wish their was less politics and more honesty and integrity in the research.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Also, yes, I’m fully aware, the groups decrying Exxon Mobile are themselves decried by those that don’t support the view that global warming is something we need to worry about.[/quote]

That last sentence doesn’t represent as many people’s beliefs as some would have it seem.

I for one am concerned about a global warming trend. Severe climate change has caused many bad things to happen in earth’s history.

However, the thing I am not so sure about is if the change is being caused by mankind. That is a VERY important difference.

[quote]vroom wrote:

Energy giant ExxonMobil borrowed tactics from the tobacco industry to raise doubt about climate change, spending $16 million on groups that question global warming, a science watchdog group said on Wednesday.

“ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile , Research) has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming…”[/quote]

It is pretty outrageous that ExxonMobil would pay $16M to generate uncertainty that the IPCC generates for about $5M. You’d think uncertainty would be much cheaper and easier to generate.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
vroom wrote:

Energy giant ExxonMobil borrowed tactics from the tobacco industry to raise doubt about climate change, spending $16 million on groups that question global warming, a science watchdog group said on Wednesday.

“ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile , Research) has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming…”

It is pretty outrageous that ExxonMobil would pay $16M to generate uncertainty that the IPCC generates for about $5M. You’d think uncertainty would be much cheaper and easier to generate.

[/quote]

The UN is more efficient than the richest company in the world!

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
The UN is more efficient than the richest company in the world!
[/quote]

That’s because it doesn’t have a lot of money… so it can’t throw it around as much.

I’m sure if it was more heavily funded it could manage to squander more.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
The UN is more efficient than the richest company in the world!

That’s because it doesn’t have a lot of money… so it can’t throw it around as much.

I’m sure if it was more heavily funded it could manage to squander more.[/quote]

Perhaps Ted Turner should give them another billion.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Perhaps Ted Turner should give them another billion.[/quote]

I smell a lobby group…

[quote]pookie wrote:
Every study has its counter-study; every example from either side gets a counter example.[/quote]

That’s not true. The science is overwhelmingly in support of the environmentalists. The point here is that the only scientists saying otherwise, are being funded by Exxon. There’s no balance of evidence between the two opposing viewpoints, it’s not even close.

Hell it wasn’t that long ago that the far right and big oil flat-out denied that global warming actually exists. Apparently that line of defense fell through, so the new line of defense is that humans don’t play any part in global warming, and anyway it’s no big deal. I wonder where the goal posts will be moved to, next.

16 million, I would have guessed that Exxon would spend more than that.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
That’s not true. The science is overwhelmingly in support of the environmentalists.[/quote]

That the earth is undergoing a warming trend is not under question. The cause of it and the human contribution to it is.

The Earth has had previous warm eras and ice ages, many times, and well before industrial civilizations.

Most mathematical models used to make predictions show themselves to be incorrect after just a few years. Should we trust them for an outlook 10, 20 or 100 years ahead?

Do you have references to study that conclusively demonstrate man’s contribution to global warming? How is that measured? Are we contributing 50% to it, 95%, 5%…?

If we are contributing significantly to it, is it reversible? Can we stop and even reverse the trend, or should we invest in getting ready for heat waves and higher water levels? Do you have conclusive studies to answer those questions?

Finally, what are we to do about countries like India and China who have rapidly developing economies and who have no intention of following Kyoto or similar accords? Do we embargo them? Go to war with them? Are the enormous costs involved worth it, if in the end we can barely reach half (if that) of the initials goals?

[quote]Brad61 wrote:

The point here is that the only scientists saying otherwise, are being funded by Exxon.[/quote]

And? The vast majority of pro-GW research is funded by government or regulatory agencies. Funny that someone so well versed in conspiracy theory can’t spot a conspiracy or groupthink when it’s staring them in the face. As pookie said, fight the data with data not ad hominem attacks.

Even if you ignore the anti-GW evidence, the pro evidence is so scattered, shaky, and loaded as to make it very tough to swallow. And to swallow it whole and dismiss the anti-GW evidence out of hand as you have shows that you aren’t thinking about it, or that you are and it’s very biased.

Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that the scientific community was scared about global cooling. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that we discovered phenomenon like global dimming. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that the IPCC didn’t exist, now they have a $5M/yr. budget.

BTW- And I love the ‘far right denial’ comment. As if it solves some problem or proves some point.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that the scientific community was scared about global cooling.[/quote]

You’re talking about one single study from maybe 30 years ago. That’s a long time ago, and one study hardly represents the ‘scientific community’. People used to think the earth was flat. So what. Look at what the scientific consensus is today… it’s not the ExxonMobil position. Deal with it.

Just a year ago, the Bush administration was still denying global warming was even real. They finally have started to acknowledge it’s a reality.

These are the same idiots who deny evolution, who claim the earth is less than 6000 years old… these are the idiots who are setting our environmental policies.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:

You’re talking about one single study from maybe 30 years ago. That’s a long time ago, and one study hardly represents the ‘scientific community’.[/quote]

And you’re talking about a vaguely decisive mentality (Is ‘not acknowledging’ or disregarding the same as denial?) and indiscriminately ascribing it to vague political ideology with no data. Further you act as if it matters, Bush, while denying global warming, hops into his SUV and drives off. Kerry, on the other hand, fully acknowledges global warming and hops into his SUV and drives off. Good to know that if the world does end, you and people like you will at least have your finger pointed at someone. Even if it’s only half the people responsible for about 5% of the problem.

And given the statements about acknowledging current and future global cooling from the NSB (NSF), NAS, and WMO, it clearly wasn’t a minority of the meteorological community (I guess it could be the minority that does all the talking and regulating).

People used to think Kyoto was feasible or effective. Look at what the economic consensus is today… it’s not the UN position. Deal with it.

Both Pookie and myself are both vehemently opposed to the idea of intelligent design. I’m pretty sure you haven’t gathered the opinion on ID of every environmental scientist ‘in ExxonMobil’s pocket’. If you’re willing to believe your arbitrary conclusions and vague associations, it clearly shows me that you don’t have the abilities required to weigh evidence and draw conclusions objectively. Probably not just on this issue either.

I think the subtle finer point about “a company with a lot of chips on the table with a conflict of interest getting involved in a matter purely to protect it’s own short term interests” is being ignored.

We don’t have to rehash the same tired arguments on global warming, but the issue of oil companies working to influence public opinion due to financial motivation, if true, should be something worthy of concern.

Especially if they are willing to spread invalid information, on purpose, in order to support their goals.

It’s not like they can even pretend to be doing these things for altruistic reasons.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
lucasa wrote:
Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that the scientific community was scared about global cooling.

You’re talking about one single study from maybe 30 years ago. That’s a long time ago, and one study hardly represents the ‘scientific community’. People used to think the earth was flat. So what. Look at what the scientific consensus is today… it’s not the ExxonMobil position. Deal with it.

Just a year ago, the Bush administration was still denying global warming was even real. They finally have started to acknowledge it’s a reality.

These are the same idiots who deny evolution, who claim the earth is less than 6000 years old… these are the idiots who are setting our environmental policies.[/quote]

Jim Hansen is NASA’s leading climatologist and one of the worlds most respected scientist. He was repeatedly censored by a government official named Phil Cooney who was hired by EXXON after leaving the Bush administration. Jim Hansen revealed this on CBS 60 Minutes last year.

If you are interested in coverups,
Google Jim Hansen and Phil Cooney

Leave politics aside and see the Al Gore movie.

Also in the news the other day was a 25sq mile chunk of glacier that broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian arctic. Not a small piece and not an every day event.

I’m of the “better safe than sorry” ilk. If they are wrong and covering up, which there is plenty of data to substanciate, you’re grand children just might be screwed. I’m enjoying the weather in NJ in the meantime.

Who knows, but Jim Hansen is the top guy in the field. Check him out

[quote]vroom wrote:

Especially if they are willing to spread invalid information, on purpose, in order to support their goals.[/quote]

  1. Invalid information is a quaint idea and should be easily provable as such.

  2. Which is worse? Distributing ‘invalid information’ or ascribing a ‘funding bias’ to any opposing viewpoints.

The only people sanctifying themselves is the pro-GW side. ExxonMobil is clearly just trying to continue drawing a paycheck. The pro-GW side is the one trying to save the world (Oh, and draw a paycheck).

[quote]olderguy wrote:

If you are interested in coverups,
Google Jim Hansen and Phil Cooney[/quote]

You’re not filling me in on anything new here. Maybe you should look into the way the IPCC conducts its daily business. Both sides are playing very fast and loose with the data.

I have, they should’ve gotten someone better to play the part of Al Gore. And you should get your science from research papers, not Al Gore’s PowerPoint presentations.

The Earth is undergoing global warming and humans do contribute to that.

When the melting glaciers put a halt to global warming we will all be long gone.

Who cares?