Monday, October 30, 2006

On Rockefeller and BIG OIL

With new international climate change talks just around the proverbial bend, there is a real buzz today over the new British government-sponsored report which warns that failure to tackle global warming could lead to a global depression:

But something a little more in the person-bites-dog category also caught our attention:

Once upon a time, the name Rockefeller was synonymous with big oil. (As in John D. Rockefeller and the old Standard Oil Company, back in the robber-baron days. Remember them – when we thought oil companies were in cahoots with government to manipulate gas prices? Maybe I should clarify that was the first robber-baron era.)

But now a descendant of the original Rockefellers is firing a salvo at ExxonMobil, part of what used to be Standard Oil.

In a letter late last week, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller (D) joined Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in demanding that ExxonMobil stop underwriting groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute that raise doubts about global warming. Rockefeller and Snowe spelled out their objections in a letter to ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson.

“American companies have every right to engage in important public debates, but these discussions should neither serve as a license to obscure credible data and research nor impede domestic and international actions based on that data,” said Rockefeller. “Climate change is one of the most serious environmental and economic issues facing the United States and our partners in the international community. It is absolutely irresponsible for any entity to try to influence our government’s involvement in such an important debate in any way that is not scrupulously accurate and honest.”

“The institutions that ExxonMobil is supporting are producing very questionable data. The company’s support for a small, but influential, group of climate skeptics has damaged the United States’ reputation by making our government appear to ignore conclusive data on climate change and the disastrous effects climate change could have.”

Of course, a lot of these groups that get money from ExxonMobil also spend part of their time attacking Clean Air Watch. (See a couple of recent examples below.) If Rockefeller and Snowe succeed, does that mean we can spend a little less on body armor?


Some of the people who had arch things to say about Clean Air Watch just last week:

Joel Schwartz (American Enterprise Institute)

Washington Times by Michael Fumento (Hudson Institute)

Heartland Institute

AEP, Hudson and Heartland all received ExxonMobil money in 2005:

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