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Groups Pushing ClimateGate Have Extensive Ties To Exxon-Mobil

The ClimateGate controversy has now become a full-fledged talking point on the right, despite the reality of the situation. But the storm being created over the stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit is being pushed by exactly the same fossil fuel industries that have been fighting climate science for years, if not decades.

A group promoting skepticism over widely-accredited climate change science has a web of connections to influential oil giant Exxon-Mobil, Raw Story has found.

The organization is called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), apparently named after the UN coalition International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). An investigation into the group reveals its numerous links to Exxon-Mobil, a vehement opponent of climate legislation and notorious among scientists for funding global warming skeptics.

“Exxon-Mobil essentially funds people to lie,” Joseph Romm, lauded climate expert and author of the blog Climate Progress, told Raw Story. “It’s important for people to understand that they pay off the overwhelming majority of groups in the area of junk science.”

The story details the nexus between the NIPCC, the Heartland Institute (recipient of $676,500 from Exxon-Mobil over the last 10 years), the Cato Institute ($125,000 from Exxon-Mobil in the last decade) and multiple other right-wing front groups.

In addition, one of the key pieces in the hacked ClimateGate emails refers to a study reported in scientific journals that was revealed to be underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute, yet another Exxon-Mobil front group:

The incident to which Sensenbrenner is alluding in fact involves an admirable event in scientific history, when the scientific community successfully resisted attempts by Exxon-Mobil and Republicans to politicize and corrupt climate research.

In 2003, the journal Climate Research published a paper by astrophysicists Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon which argued that “the current global warming trend is not unique and that an even more dramatic episode occurred centuries ago, before widespread combustion of oil and coal.”

What Sensenbrenner and the other smear merchants fail to mention is that the researchers were correct in their concerns that the journal had been taken over by biased ideologues. Despite Sensenbrenner’s claim, no editors were fired because of the climate realists. Rather, the editor of Climate Research, Hans Von Storch, quit in July 2003 because he was suppressed by the journal’s publisher when he attempted to disown the paper’s “severe methodological flaws“ […]

The Soon-Baliunas paper turned out to be crass Big Oil propaganda, “underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute and promoted by nonprofit organizations that receive support from energy interests, primarily ExxonMobil Corp.” Journal publisher Otto Kinne eventually admitted in August, 2003, that the Soon-Baliunas claims “cannot be concluded convincingly from the evidence provided in the paper” — but only after the paper had served its political purpose.

Obama Administration science advisors have stood firm on the reliability of climate science in the wake of the controversy. They could probably do some pushing back of their own. Exxon-Mobil has essentially bought the climate denial industry.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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