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Love on the rocks?

Exxon Mobil Corp. has cut funding to groups raising questions about climate change from human-generated carbon dioxide, a move taken on the eve of its annual meeting in the face of criticism that the oil giant isn't as green as some of its rivals.

Spokesman Gantt Walton confirmed Tuesday that in 2008, Exxon Mobil (XOM) scrapped funding for the Capital Research Center, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute and the Institute for Energy Research.

"We discontinued contributions to several public-policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion about how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner," Walton said.

On the surface, this looks somewhat promising, especially considering that Exxon cut funding to the notorious climate change skeptics at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) last year.

But a healthy dose of skepticism on our side is important. Let's dig below that glossy corporate surface and follow the money.

Last year, Greenpeace pointed out that although Exxon stopped its handouts to the CEI, it was still up to no good:

ExxonSecrets has obtained the company's Exxon Foundation 2005 report to the IRS. Exxon told the IRS that that it funded 14 groups specifically for their climate change work. But somehow the company didn’t mention this in public.

[Emphasis added.]

In addition to those 14 groups, Exxon was also still giving millions to other front groups that faithfully pump out global warming denier propaganda (pdf , pp. 10-15).

Finally, let's take a look at the groups most recently defunded, namely their key individuals and goals:

  1. The Capital Research Center aggressively monitors progressive advocacy groups (example here). One of their most recent publications regarding climate change is by the rather prolific denier Chris Horner, whose contributions to the National Review's "Planet Gore" blog speak for themselves. Horner is also listed by the Heartland Institute as one of their "global warming experts", and has recently given talks for the conservative (Exxon-funded ) Heritage Foundation.
  2. The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow has an impressive list of high-profile global warming deniers on its Board of Advisors. Many, if not most of them, are also advisors to, or on the staff of, front groups that Exxon continues to fund (e.g. the American Enterprise Institute, the National Center for Policy Analysis, etc.)
  3. The Frontiers of Freedom Institute includes the Center for Science and Public Policy, whose extensive anti-climate science activities include a recent letter to President Bush co-signed by a long list of fellow climate change deniers from other front groups.
  4. The George C. Marshall Institute is noteworthy in that it has hosted many "roundtables" specifically for climate change deniers from other front groups (e.g. "Shattered Consensus", a discussion including Patrick Michaels, Ross McKitrick, David Legates, and Oliver Frauenfeld).
  5. The Institute for Energy Research 's chairman is also a sort of clearinghouse for climate change deniers from other Exxon-funded front groups. As of the time of this post, the IER's list of Scholars includes experts from the American Enterprise Institute , the Cato Institute , and the Pacific Research Institute .

The point is this:

Although Exxon is no longer funding a handful of its climate change denier front groups, the key people in these groups are part of the entire Exxon front group network. It doesn't matter that one of their think tanks is losing funding, because they have their fingers in other oily pies, and can get their message out no matter what.

Exxon is obviously under pressure to catch up with reality; they no longer strictly deny climate change, but their tepid, equivocating language on their website leaves a lot to be desired.

As Cindy Baxter says in her post at Exxon Secrets, "it's a start ". She, like all of us in the real world would love to see Exxon stop funding all of its front groups, and not create more to take their place.

Perhaps the tiger will be out of the (think) tank for good someday.


(Also posted at DeSmogBlog.com.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:45 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Think This Is More a Case of Reassessing... (8+ / 0-)

    ...Their position.

    They know that no matter what happens with this Presidential election, they are not going to have an EPA who is willing to allow their corporate think-tanks to run the show.  I doubt McCain will be as "good" on Environmental issues as Obama or Clinton, but even if he wins the EPA at least becomes a quasi-independent agency again.  This could just be Exxon realizing that this spending isn't going to net them as much as it has for the last eight years.

    ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

    by TooFolkGR on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:49:42 AM PDT

    •  Well (6+ / 0-)

      This appears to be message control.  There are protests around their annual meeting, and Congress is considering slapping them with a windfall tax, so they are trying to release some of the pressure by having a "pro-environment" story be the lead, instead of a protest story.

      Congrats to the activists who have forced this (somewhat limited) change.  Keep up the pressure!

      •  This shows they're squirming (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, homoaffectional

        This is NOT a victory - but the activists are clearly having an impact.

        To me, the absolute most important issue ANY of us has, and this nation has, is that we are currently being ruled by a gang of immoral war criminals. -Hornito

        by discocarp on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:57:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of that ... (0+ / 0-)

          The mid/long-term financial interests of the company dictate policy change.

          I don't look at these things in terms of victory or defeat (that's a bit of oversimplification) but progress.

          Time to step-up the pressure and keep that carrot & stick handy.

          When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

          by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:09:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correction. (0+ / 0-)

            Of Or that ...

            keyboard malfunction.

            When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

            by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:33:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Or (4+ / 0-)

            Exxon is finally realizing that blatant shills are counter-productive so they are looking for more subtle ways to lie to us.

            Of course, it doesn't help that the Rockefellers are very unhappy with the executives at Exxon and tried to push some reforms. Now that the annual meeting is over and the executives won, the promised green reforms are likely to disappear.

          •  The funny thing... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LauraSanborn
            ... is that I've talked with a top official in NCAR about Exxon-Mobil before.  He mentioned that in their meetings with Exxon-Mobil people, they acknowledged that global warming was real and was a problem.  It really sounds like it's just the top brass that has been doing their best to keep the company in the stone age.  It's really shameful that it took them this long.  Example: Dupont and BP left the Global Climate Coalition (what used to be the main industry front group) in 1997, Shell left in 1998, Ford in 1999, and DaimlerChrysler, GM, and Texaco in 2000 (this left Exxon-Mobil as the only remaining member of the group).  Here it is, 2008, and Exxon is just now starting to back away from this?  It's shameful to see, say, Shell chancellors advocating for government regulation to control climate change and BP running commercials accepting global warming as a premise, while meanwhile Exxon-Mobil tries to spread as much FUD as possible.

            Interestingly enough, you'd probably never guess whose officials the NCAR official had the best things to say about: the Chinese government.  He was very impressed to find that the government officials creating the environmental policy strategies were themselves scientists, almost as versed in the issues as he was, and he didn't have to dumb down the conversation or explain everything.  Their hands were tied in a lot of regards due to a number of factors outside their control, but they fully understood the issues at hand.

            •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

              I think Exxon is willing to play that hand as far as they can get away with it and don't believe a word. That they are backing away at this point is no more than acceptance that it will no longer work.

              Certianly China has progressive Environmental and Energy policy, which reflects some pretty severe problems with both they must, and are trying, to solve. Contrary to public opinion, Chinese are not living in a state of dennial about their situation, just racing agaist time to find solutions. There is no possibility the world could sustain Chinese consuming oil or generating CO2 at the percapita rate of the USA, so China clearly has a motive to addopt alternative energy technology and conserve energy. Therefore, China has addopted a general policy to reduce energy use per unit of economic output and is phasing out energy intensive industries while investing in renuables, mass transit and upgrading building code to reduce domestic consumption.

              I eould like to se the USA take an equally progressive posture and I'm certian it would produce a positive economic return. The USA has no lack of brain power or opportunity, just a lack of political will.

              Think "Negawatts", that would be a good start.

              When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

              by koNko on Sat May 31, 2008 at 11:03:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The Rockefellers (0+ / 0-)

          I read a good article in my copy of THIS WEEK where apparently the Rockefeller heirs are none too happy with Exxon ceding the "branding" of being green and spearheading alternate energy research to the other oil companies and so they are pushing this opinion to the board.

      •  It is not a victory so long as I can google (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, Abra Crabcakeya, LookingUp

        GW Hoax and get 1000 hits immediately with denialist sites. Don't forget even in science friendly sites such as Kos, there is still a whole lot of denying going on.

      •  I don't buy this as anything but PR. n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  This is Impotiant/Promising (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, Abra Crabcakeya, Lavocat

      Corporations, by practical necessity play several hands of cards never show all the cards they are holding.

      Particularly in the case of the oil industry, where a fundamental cange is in progress, it's actually importiant to them to moves carefully and deliberatly.

      Honestly, business intersts come first (including maximizing profits)and short-term before long-term. In the absence of government policy that mandades change it's a liar's poker game.

      This is a very significant reversal of policy that signals a strategic change.

      To frame the picture, this is one of the world's largent corporations not Greenpeace, but they are infinately more powerful and ultimately more importiant when it comes to influancing reality.

      Don't break-out the Nobel Prizes quite yet ....

      When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

      by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:05:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They have the tobacco companies for templates (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Abra Crabcakeya, AtomicWarBaby

      Witness the trials and tribulations faced by the tobacco companies and then track their maneuverings dating back to the 1960s and there is the clear model on how to lose every battle and still win the war.

  •  You're right (9+ / 0-)

    Exxon, like George Bush, is backing away just enough from climate change deniers so they can pretend in public that they're sane.

    "Problems can't be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Einstein

    by Brecht on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:50:06 AM PDT

    •  the Overton window is shifting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, homoaffectional

      reality is making a comeback!

      •  More "EnviroNuts" Needed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht

        The way the Overton window works is some extremist troll forces the window of acceptable public debate closer to their side, even if their crazy public antics don't ever get included in the closer end of the window, but they do pull the window away from the positions set up on the other side that they're furthest from.

        Eg. Ann Coulter is a rightwing troll whose statements pull the window of the range of acceptable positions on public issues away from the "liberals" she attacks and excludes, and towards the Conservatives she's nearer and thereby includes, even if Coulter herself is too crazy for the window to actually include. She's not designed to be the included one, just a way to drag the window towards her and away from her enemies.

        This Overton strategy works in either direction, for anyone. So some more extreme public antics attacking polluters and demanding the Earth be protected - perhaps more protected than humans - would work the Overton window away from Greenhouse deniers and towards sane environmentalists.

        I propose an Earth Cult make public demands that their religion stop getting abused "even worse than Christians are abused" (they'd say), and attack "godless polluters" as actually evil. No firebombs (or treespiking), just a lot of pious craziness in the public eye to drag the Overton window.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:14:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pretend is right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Abra Crabcakeya

      If you watch CNN you see ads from the Oil and Gas lobby about every ten minutes.  They're buying more influence ad time at CNN than even the coal industry.  I suspect Exxon is just shifting its PR campaign to a more direct-to-consumer model, kind of like the drug companies have done.

      I'll believe Exxon might be changing when they at least reach a BP level of PR flackery.  Until then, skepticism is better than they deserve.

      Hanoi didn't break John McCain, but Washington did.

      by Dallasdoc on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:38:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Energy business" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      It's so funny to me when I hear Big Oil refer to themselves as being in the "energy business". They're in the oil business for crying out loud. Evrything else IMO is a sham.

      [the] "White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war." -Scott McClellan

      by plok on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:04:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exxon is probably hoping we'll then (7+ / 0-)

    Not notice the obscene profit they are making right now if they acknowledge climate change... Don't trust them..

    "Do you hope to find new ways Of quenching your thirst, Do you hope to find new ways Of doing better than your worst." Nick Drake- GO Cubs!

    by ebbinflo on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:51:53 AM PDT

    •  Public Corporation. (0+ / 0-)

      Some of the public is pretty pleased with thier profits.

      When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

      by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:10:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am also noticing an increase in (0+ / 0-)

      educational advertising where we are informed ANWR holds 80 years of oil supplies or the Artic (I thought the Russians had already staked their territorial claims there)has 1000 years of oil or the seabed contains more oil than will ever be needed.

      World demand has dropped some as some poorer countries can no longer afford to compete for the available oil.  However I am seeing more and more blame being leveled at the environmentalists for there not being more refineries due to enviro laws blocking their construction. No mention that the oil companies years ago began making "targeted" infrastructure improvement, meaning some stuff got upgrades and others did not.

  •  Just another form of greenwashing ... (11+ / 0-)

    ...not unlike Chevron's television ads explaining how that company is oh-so-environmentally sound. Except that it is often "green" after fighting tooth-and-claw against a regulation until it exhausts its last appeal, then tries to claim that it has our best interests at heart, as if it had thought up the contested regulation on its own.

    Exxon-Mobil has a lot to answer for. But it's unlikely to ever have to do so.

    Like a cyclone, imperialism spins across the globe; militarism crushes peoples and sucks their blood like a vampire. K. Liebknecht

    by Meteor Blades on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:52:41 AM PDT

    •  That creaking sound .. (0+ / 0-)

      Is a huge ship starting to turn.

      I suppose there will be some observable change in the next 5 years or so, meanwhile they will keep raking in the profits while heading for the next pot of Gold.

      $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, no?

      When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

      by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:15:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  observable changes like the Atlantic lapping at (0+ / 0-)

        their corporate headquarters front door in Irving TX?

        Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International http://www.aclu.org and http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org Your voice is needed!

        by tnichlsn on Thu May 29, 2008 at 09:05:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  With greenwashing like this Exxon isn't changing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Abra Crabcakeya

      very much to meet the challenges of future global warming:

      Similarly, we support an array of public policy organizations that research and promote discussion on climate change and other domestic and international issues, including the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We publish our support of 501(c)(3) organizations on our Web site — and update the list once per year
      http://www.exxonmobil.com/...

      "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:13:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It should also be noted that (7+ / 0-)

    Exxon began funding such groups at a time when the "debate" was still being shaped, and there was still hope that they could muddy the waters enough to create doubt. The global warming deniers lost that debate, and an even broader public consensus has emerged (even McCain is trying to pretend to care). This is a PR stunt meant to make it appear as though Exxon is exercising some measure of corporate responsibility to deflect from the increasing outrage over high fuel prices/record profits.

    "Tyrants and torturers will never manage to hide their comic stumbles behind their cosmic acrobatics."--Vladimir Nabokov

    by JamesEB on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:53:22 AM PDT

    •  They shaped ... (6+ / 0-)

      for decades, delaying and denying action.  

      •  Yes, it would have been a lot harder for Bush (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, homoaffectional

        to be such a pig-headed idiot if they hadn't built the "research" that the whole right-wing has swallowed.

        It's pretty amazing that significantly less Americans believe in climate change now than did twenty years ago (that's true for evolution, too, by the way).

        "Problems can't be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Einstein

        by Brecht on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:25:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  $tatus Quo. /eom (0+ / 0-)

        When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

        by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:28:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is why they can pretend to accept (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        the science now.  They've planted seeds of doubt that grew too well.

        Last year during planning for the "Step it Up" rally in Pittsburgh, I concentrated more on telling people about the climate bills before Congress than on the science, thinking that the tide had strongly turned toward people accepting the science.  I did have a nice graphic that some students made for me showing that the solar output hadn't changed significantly in the previous 25 years, but that was a minor part of my presentation.

        Since then I've frequently run into people of at least moderate intelligence who tell me that they've heard that "it's the sun," or "most of CO2 comes from volcanos," or "it's just natural variation" or one of the other crazy ideas that have been well planted by the fossil fuel corporations.

        Now I'm back to explaining the basic science to people as often as I can.  The seeds of doubt have sprouted, and now Exxon and similar groups can talk as if they're ready to do something about the climate crisis, while those who bought into their propaganda continue to spread the scientific sounding inaccurate ideas.

        This is not the time to congratulate ourselves that we've won because now even Exxon has seen the light.  They knew for many years that burning fossil fuels was leading to an environmental crisis and didn't care.  Now they're telling the truth that they know there's a problem, but I think that they still don't care.

        Until this country is committed to real solutions and is working on them with the rest of the world, nothing has been won.  

        "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

        by LookingUp on Thu May 29, 2008 at 12:46:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the denialists are not gone (0+ / 0-)

      Even today the editor of the local weekly is trumpeting that the increasingly bad hurricane seasons have not materialized, based on this year's estimate of the upcoming hurricane season.

      The logical question is how do you use these updates as valid predicators of the future and at the same time claim the underlying science of climate change is all wrong.

      BTW some Christians are also taking GW as an insult to the order of things in insinuating that humans are the fly in the climate ointment.  They cite Genesis as giving man dominion over the world so how could anyone in charge of everything screw things up as royally as GW claims things are SNAFU?  

  •  Corporations like Exxon have a culture (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, koNko, zenmasterjack

    of pursuing their short termed interests at the exclusion of everything else. You can count on it.

    You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

    by zerone on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:53:48 AM PDT

    •  Sort-of ... (0+ / 0-)

      They also persue mid/long term interests while maintaining a profitable staus quo.

      Key Phrase: $$$$$$

      When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

      by koNko on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:22:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see it (0+ / 0-)

        Big oil has had an opportunity for some time to pivot (diversify) its interests into renewable, and environmentally friendly energy sources. It reminds me of how the Detroit auto makers keep getting caught maximizing quarterly profits at the expense of rolling out higher quality, better mileage vehicles ala the '70s, or their singular pursuit of high profit SUV sales at the expense developing vehicles that are more suited to the emerging fuel efficient markets that the Japanese, Koreans, and Europeans have done recently. Your right, its all about the money... but both the stock market, and many USA modeled business are myopically focused on next quarters profits at the expense of long term strategy. In fact they invest to keep the status quo as a means of protecting profits, rather than invest in research and development... which is bottom lined as an unknown.

        You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

        by zerone on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:13:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, some pioneering reserch in solar (0+ / 0-)

          Was done by oil companies. But they were too early for a payback and dropped it.

          And today, much reseach in biofuels and bioplatics is done by oil companies since these are some of the core markets they dominate. Exxon was the first developer of synthetic fuels and oils.

          I guess my point is, we are not fighting against clueless idiots, but cold-blooded bastards.

          When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

          by koNko on Sat May 31, 2008 at 10:37:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Clearly Exxon Execs hate their kids .... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homoaffectional, zenmasterjack

    otherwise why would they promote ideas that will make life very hard for future generations (if not the current generation itself).

    As a resident of a low quality, insignificant state I need no president.

    by nataraj on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:58:30 AM PDT

  •  Exxon in the White House (5+ / 0-)

    One of Bush's close young aides from Texas, Steve Atkiss, is the son of the former Exxon-Mobil PR director.

    •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

      My mom used to work for a company that had Coca Cola as a client... Now, the company I work for has a Coca Cola vending machine in the break-room... My G-d!!! My familial influence is responsible for the unhealthy beverage choices at this company - I'm nothing but a corporate shill!!! Oh, Heavens forbid, & G-d forgive me!!!

      Please... There's no monster under the bed.

      Maybe our next President will only surround himself with former clerks & stock-persons from Mom-&-Pop shops, instead of Ivy League educated, well-connected individuals with corporate management experience.

    •  More (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zerone

      I should say that Atkiss' office was steps away from the Oval Office.  He shared space with Karl Rove's (now convicted) old secretary Susan Ralston.

      I wrote about Atkiss in this diary some time ago

      John's predecessor (Special Assistant for Operations and Deputy Director of Advance) was a young lad named Steve Atkiss.  30-something Atkiss is now Chief of Staff at DHS' Bureau of Customes and Border Protection.  Atkiss was fingered as one of three who ordered the ejection of the Denver Three (three Denver citizens thrown out of a taxpayer-funded event).  Atkiss explained that the White House can exclude or throw citizens out of events if their viewpoints don't match those of the President.  Atkiss also toiled three doors down from the Oval Office in the West Wing in an office he shared with Rove protegee (since resigned under scandal) Susan Ralston.  Oh, and 30-something Border Patrol Chief of Staff Steve Atkiss' dad Anthony was, until recently, Vice President of PR at Exxon Mobil.

    •  Exxon in White House (0+ / 0-)

      Bush's young Aide, Steve Adkiss: don't ya mean Steve ASS KISS?  Ha

  •  If no one buys Exxon and Mobile gas... (0+ / 0-)

    They would be forced to reduce prices.

  •  also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko

    The Rockefeller family and other stockholders are trying to make a move to force Exxon to deal with global warming

    Nineteen institutional investors with 91 million shares announced last week that they would support resolutions asking Exxon to separate the top executive positions and tackle global warming. They included the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System.

    California’s treasurer, Bill Lockyer, who serves on the boards of the two California funds, said the company’s “go-slow approach” on global warming “places long-term shareholder value at risk.”

    Under Exxon’s rules, a shareholder proposal that passes is not binding without the support of the board. But Andrew Logan, director of the oil program at Ceres, a coalition of institutional investors and environmentalists, said, “boards tend to strongly consider proposals that get significant support.”

  •  my metaphor for exxon's behavior (3+ / 0-)

    Man gives away Klan robes, keeps gun...

  •  Credit where credit is due (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya, zenmasterjack

    I take my hat off to you, ExxonMobil.

    Yes, yes, it's as clear as day that you are a pack of lying douchebags.

    But, you should be credited with both CONSISTENTLY lying and CONSISTENTLY being douchebags.

    Such 24/7 douchebaggery has got to be daunting.

    And, for that, I award you with The Medal of Douchebag.

    Mr. Novak shall be our presenter ...

    " ... or a baby's arm holding an apple!"

    by Lavocat on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:13:48 AM PDT

  •  If Exxon was such a caring green company (4+ / 0-)

    Who goes to Prince William Sound first, lawyers or clean up crews?

    We all know the answer, no need for a poll.

    Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. Thomas Jefferson 6/11/1807

    by Patriot4peace on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:14:05 AM PDT

  •  What are they funding? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, zenmasterjack

    Exxon has done a pretty lousy job over the years of funding academic research of any type.  It would be great to see them increase their support of competitive peer-reviewed grants (climate research, energy research, petroleum research, whatever).  They just can't seem to let go with respect to controlling the product.  

  •  Here's another reason to stop buying Exxon Mobil (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, homoaffectional, LookingUp

    ...gas (apologies in advance for linking to Faux Business):

    Exxon Shareholders Reject Gay Rights Resolution

    While Rockefeller family’s attempt to get oil giant ExxonMobil to focus more on climate change got more publicity, there was another resolution that went before shareholders today as well--gay and lesbian rights.

    ExxonMobil (XOM: 90.06, 0.37, 0.40%) shareholders voted down a resolution to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Exxon’s non-discrimination statement on Wednesday. Approximately 40% of Exxon’s outstanding shares voted in favor of the clause, but it was not enough to send the issue to the oil company’s board of directors.

    The shareholder resolution has come up every year since 2000, when it got 8.2% approval among shareholders. The percentage that voted in favor of the resolution has grown every year since then.

    What a bunch of bass-ackwards cretins. It's a good thing I only buy my petrol from Citgo and Hess.

  •  "Secure the energy" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya, zenmasterjack

    Now that's a good description of Bush/McCain Iran/Iraq policy. After all, the GOP is just a subsidiary of Big Oil.

    Secure it for whom is the question.

  •  Stop worying about climate change (0+ / 0-)

    We're going to run out of oil, or at least cheap oil, before that.  You think we're going to need to worry about global warming when gas hits $5, $7 a gallon?

    We're at peak oil, it's a non-issue now.  Worrying about climate change simply makes you sound like a tree hugger, caring more about a spotted newt then about struggling families.  Nobody struggling with high gas and food prices cares about climate change.

    We need to take all of the climate change effort and shove it over to renewable energy.  You get the same end result, but we also get our energy supply and prices under control.

    Let Exxon deny climate change, it doesn't matter.  The end of cheap energy has already taken care of that threat.

    •  concerned about gas prices AND climate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Abra Crabcakeya

      Americans aren't dumb, and they care very much about paying for high gas and food prices and also about climate change.

      Ordinary working people who realize they are being ripped off by the oil companies and the corporate food industry are part of the solution. We have to build a movement that revitalizes the labor unions to demand well paying jobs in the new industries that will be needed to create energy efficiency. An auto worker who is facing lay off is very interested in a crash program to build a world-class, energy efficient mass transit system in every metro area in the country.

    •  excuse me, but climate change is here now (4+ / 0-)

      The feds released extensive report the other day, finding that climate change is already affecting U.S. water resources, agriculture, land resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so..

      We have to address climate change, energy and environmental pollution NOW, not later.

      The harms have already gone on too long from doing nothing. Thousands of americans get sick and die each year NOW from pollution alone.

      It will only get worse next year, and in the future.

      •  climate change is here now (3+ / 0-)

        You are right! We need government action now.

      •  No, you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

        We need to address renewable energy, carbon neutral energy NOW.

        But you don't sell it to the public as "worrying about climage change", because the low information voter doesn't give a shit.
        You sell it to the public as getting us off expensive oil and onto a stable energy source.

        What's an easier sell to the public?  That we're going to spend billions to save an insect they've never seen, or that we're going to save billions to get them low energy and food prices?

        Getting us off oil and onto renewable energy will take care of environmental concerns.  Stop wringing your hands and do something about it.

        It's a two for one shot.  But what I'm saying is, stop putting your energy into simply worrying about climate change, or whether someone accepts it or denies it.

        Whether or not Exxon believes in climate change is irrelevent.  Stop worrying about what they think and work to get us off oil.
        Exxon isn't going to work to get us off oil, so who gives a shit what they think!

        What I'm saying is, we can spend millions monitoring the climate, or we can spend millions getting us off oil.

        •  it is NOT a twofer (0+ / 0-)

          there is more than GHG polluting our soil, air, water and food.

          We also have a finite supply of potable water resources, which bush is allowing companies to dump their waste, transforming natural streams and lakes into toxic waste dumps that kill the streams and lakes as well as aquatic life.

          The environmental issues we face that affect our ability to live, that sicken and kill Americans, are not limited to climate change.

    •  Talking Nonsense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      entlord1, JeffW, LookingUp

      You don't even understand Peak Oil. Peak oil happens when about half the oil in the Earth is pumped out to use. To burn, mostly, pumping its carbon and other Greenhouse pollution into the air as CO2 etc. Which means that even after oil peaks, there's still as much Greenhouse pollution left to spew into the air as there has already been spewed.

      Meanwhile, the air already has too much CO2, even if we don't increase it with more. We're steadily trapping more Sun heat already, which is already changing the climate. The fact is that if we can reduce our Greenhouse pollution enough in time (probably by 5-10 years from now), we will let the balance fall back to something that doesn't change the climate any more, and so avoid the worst catastrophes yet in store.

      Only the deadender, flatearther Greenhouse deniers believe any more that "Climate Change talk" makes you sound like a "tree hugger". Which Exxon's propaganda campaign's rise and fall each show is a fringe population rapidly going extinct.

      What you said is true only in reverse. We need to throw all the money spent on Greenhouse denial into alternative energy, along with all the money spent propping up the rapidly disappearing oil industry. Not because gas prices are more important or more urgent than averting Climate Change, but because the gas prices are a symptom of the energy fiasco that should protect the environment while freeing us from the expensive, disappearing oil.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:46:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  if families are struggling now (0+ / 0-)

      what happens when farmers try to grow crops without fertilizer or revert to the old 2 mule plow?  5 acres used to be a dawn to dusk day of plowing.

    •  peak oil (0+ / 0-)

      We're at peak oil, it's a non-issue now.

      Not to argue with your basic argument (with which I don't disagree) but we're not yet at peak tar sand or peak coal.  

  •  Could ExxonMobil be the next class action? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenmasterjack

    Just like the cigarette companies hid facts about the damage their product causes, so too is ExxonMobil.  We see what the courts did to big tobacco.  Maybe it's time to sue for climate change?  These guys are knowingly and deliberately destroying our environment and they've got an amazing amount of money to keep the facts secret.

    •  EXXON Lawsuit (0+ / 0-)

      EXXON was ordered by the Court to pay the Lawsuit Settlement Award to the EXXON VALDEZ OIL SPILL's victims in ALASKA.  That was 20 YEARS ago, & they've just kept fighting the ruling, appealing it. They have a gazillion Lawyers, AND, thanks to all the JUDGES Dumbass Dubya appointed, esp. to the Federal Appeals Court & to the SUPREME Court, "the deck is stacked"!

      If such a NEW Lawsuit were filed against EXXON MOBIL about something, it would be appealed all at he way to the SUPREME Court, & the EXXON MOBIL CEO would go "DUCK HUNTING" with Justice Antonin Scalia!

      EXXON also bought themselves some "cover" when they merged with MOBIL OIL Co.; like PHILIP MORRIS Tobacco Co. changed it's NAME to "ALTRIA" because the PUBLIC associated the name "PHILIP MORRIS" with pretty bad s**t, like disease, addiction, death...

  •  I hve been boycotting exxon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenmasterjack

    ever since 2000. Also:

    ChevronFina
    Texaco
    Shell
    ...........all the majors except Shamrock/Velaro.

    Alot of other major corporations as well,i.e.WalMart

  •  George Bush's greatest Environmental Policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AtomicWarBaby, zenmasterjack

    Is to allow gas prices to soar.  Now the Oil Industry will have to cash in as soon as possible...as Americans will start to adapt and drive less and find alternative fuel.  Global warming is another unfortunate byproduct of refining oil and with it comes rising ocean levels.  Soon we won't be needing cars, but boats...and row boats at that.  Gas is too high for an outboard!
    http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.c...

    Truth is in the lie of the beholder.

    by ddonar on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:43:22 AM PDT

  •  Exxon's real goal (4+ / 0-)

    Was simply to gum up the works and make sure that no action was taken on Global Warming during the Bush Administration.

    They were playing for time.

    They won.

    Now they will act green, to try to win back market share from a population that finally understands global warming is a problem.

    But they are still evil fucks.

    "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

    by greendem on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:43:44 AM PDT

    •  Exxon's Real Goal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greendem

      What you describe happens all over. In my city the local public radio station wanted to start doing more coverage of the environment. Knowing the station is seriously cashed-starved, the company that owns a number of coal power plants in the region (that have never met EPA emissions standards) came up with a small grant to sponsor such coverage.

      What they are doing is guaranteeing the environmental reporting won't report on how the power company is making millions by continuing to get away with pumping extra pollutants into the air. The station general manager simply can't afford to tell this story.

  •  Reason # 995 why we absolutely should not rely on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya, zenmasterjack

    oil companies to solve the energy problems of the present and future.

    PS: Hey, nice to see you Plutonium Page

    :)

    :::::

  •  Exxon's CEO just fended off an attempt by the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, AtomicWarBaby

    Rockefeller family to severely limit his power.  Exxon investors reject effort to dilute chief's power.  The intransigence of Exxon management in denying climate change was one of the charges made by the Rockefeller family.

    Changes like the one discussed in this diary may have been meant to undercut the challenge.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:49:03 AM PDT

  •  You cannot rely on Oil companies to solve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht

    environmental problems any more than you can rely on insurance companies to sovle the health care problem. They both have one object in mind: make money.

    "Those that know, don't say, those that say, don't know"... Tao te ching... Then why am I posting a comment?

    by zenmasterjack on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:51:14 AM PDT

  •  Yahoo News: Serious Warning on Methane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marsanges

    Yahoo news carries a story about a scientific study showing the thawing of methane in the earth created a run-away global warming some 600,000 years ago.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    This is more evidence we can't afford the way the Republican and Democratic candidates give lip service to the problem but come up way short as to the major campaign we have to wage to avert climate disaster. We have to look for alternative voices.

    •  Grassroots Action ONLY Way (0+ / 0-)

      I've been surprised by "think locally" type CHANGES my own family members have been making! My Bush voting brother & his wife have downsized to ONE VEHICLE, now that she is retired, a "cross" between an SUV & a VAN. My Son is starting to listen to my "Environmental Evangelical" information, & is making some "going green" changes. I've stopped being a lead-foot speed demon on the Highway, find YES I CAN "drive 55", & my SLOWED DOWN rides let me actually have TIME to enjoy some decent Classic ROCK Music on the RADIO!

      Where I live, I've noticed just about EVERYONE is driving a lot SLOWER too; & the Roads aren't as CROWDED as they used to be, just last Christmas. I think the "TIPPING POINT" of almost $4.00 GAS, is actually having some POSITIVE effects on people's lifestyles -- and many are ALSO starting to "REBEL" against the "CONSUMERISM ON STEROIDS" of the past Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush DECADES, & Baby Boomers like me are getting back to the way we shopped back in our COLLEGE days, in the 60's & 70's:

      THRIFT Stores, Consignment Shops, Yard Sales, etc., are GROWING in Popularity & traffic, while the MEGA MALLS are LOSING in Popularity -- "Nightline" Wednesday nite even did a Segment on the Trend.
      And "NIGHTLINE" caters to the "NEW RICHISTAN" upper income crowd of Viewers, mostly!

      H

  •  thank you for excellent story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht

    i just keep wondering, (maybe cause i'm not awake yet), but how do bush, goppies, and deniers keep getting away with talking from both sides of their lying, spinning, parsing mouths? I mean, i thought Americans were fed up with bill clinton when he did that as president.

  •  Gov't, Not the Market, Forces Disclosure (0+ / 0-)

    Exxon told the IRS that that it funded 14 groups specifically for their climate change work. But somehow the company didn’t mention this in public.

    Exxon is a company owned by shareholders, members of the public. Exxon reports expenses, especially strategic ones, in published annual and quarterly reports, as well as a veritable industry of "advice" to stock market analysts. Those reports aren't just demanded by "the marketplace" - people in the marketplace - as their primary source of data on which to make decisions of whether to buy/sell/hold their shares of Exxon. On top of the presumably potent demands from millions of people including the richest and most powerful, including heads of state, including kings of countries like their OPEC suppliers, the SEC and other US government agencies all maintain strict reporting requirements, on which is based the US reputation as "the most transparent marketplace in the world", which is the basis for its size and wealth.

    But Exxon didn't tell these strategic and large expenses (with their PR liabilities, in either direction, attached) to the public in their equity reports. If they hadn't disclosed them to the IRS, which also requires them, no one but Exxon (and the fronts they prop up) would know about them.

    Which demonstrates that Exxon doesn't really care about the threat of the market as much as it fears government penalties. Everything in the market is negotiable, but the IRS (often) is not. Using the IRS to force public disclosure is an abuse of the tax system to invade privacy, even if that disclosure is required elsewhere by other rules and so a moot "invasion". But it is perfectly clear that only government regulations with real teeth, with the power to intercept revenue before it's hidden down some Enron hole as "loss" when it's really profit, have the power to force a corporation to do "the right thing".

    All these myths about the "invisible hand" of the marketplace guiding the most right action are as substantial as the bleeding heart of Jesus. If you believe it, you can let it govern your affairs. But all you have to do is get yourself one godless corporation hellbent on evil, and you can profit mightily in this world, forever postponing any day of judgement. Unless you face the grave call of the IRS, or some other similarly serious government adversary. Then the devil in the details, and cheating gets you hell to pay. Which is the only hand these corporate sinners ever fear, because it holds chains and the bars of a prison cell.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:06:30 AM PDT

  •  Two words: Hugo Chavez (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, First Light

    The best antidote to Exxon - a corrupt, profiteering derelict that spilled oil in Alaska, then helped encourage the invasion of Iraq - is Hugo Chavez.

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters knows what I'm talking about. At a recent congressional hearing, she suggested that energy companies should be nationalized. Other people visible in the video I watched just grinned and looked at her as if she's insane.

    Frankly, I wish Hugo Chavez was a candidate for U.S. president.

    Viva Chavez!

    Candidate for public office, sworn enemy of Bill Gates and his pal, George W. Bush, and supporter of Hugo Chavez.

    by David Blomstrom on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:11:44 AM PDT

    •  Just by slapping heavy taxes on their profits (0+ / 0-)

      -- and exempting investment in alternative energy from the tax -- you could assure that the companies will behave more responsibly.  And that sort of measure, Obama is talking about.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:14:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two word: Hugo Chavez (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Blomstrom

      Yes, Chavez would be a big improvement over our current crop of major candidates.

      Other countries have nationalized their oil industry and used the revenue for the general benefit. In the US though the corporate dominated media tell us this is "unrealistic." And if your goal is to rip off the people then it is unrealistic.

  •  Exxon-Mobil probably discovered... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that they were pissing their money down a rathole with these groups, getting essentially nothing but bad press for their bucks.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

    by JeffW on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:53:49 AM PDT

  •  Exxon backing wawy ? NEVER believe that - (0+ / 0-)

    but , yeh , PP , I did read the whole diary. you called the beast what it is.Any major oil company , just remember the grade school joke whose punch line arises because one actor bends over to pick up a dime, sending all three characters straight to Hades.

  •  Exxon knows how much oil is left. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya

    It's not a change of heart. They know that alternative energy will become necessary in the near future and they want their cut of it.

  •  Exxon vs IRS (0+ / 0-)

    In all the tax considerations I've ever seen, I've never known the IRS to require any specific reason for any contribution to another organization.  The only interest IRS has is whether or not the organization receiving the funding is a qualified non-profit in order to determine whether or not such funding qualifies as a legitimate tax deduction.

    So what is this mystery document that purports to know of these "specific" reasons for the funding?  Why would Exxon even bother to make such a specific note to the IRS?

  •  T. Boone Pickens -- ornery oilman (0+ / 0-)

    There's hope, I think, so long as people can still find a way to make money.

    Did you see the recent stories about T Boone Pickens's foray into wind farms?  I'll admit, Pickens isn't your everyday corporate drone kind of oilman, but...

    He's investing $1 billion dollars in wind power -- on which he expects to turn a profit.

    His belief is that we can generate electricity for our homes from the wind, freeing up natural gas that currently runs generators.

    Natural gas that isn't need for electricity can be used to power cars, thus reducing our petroleum imports by something like 40%.  Doesn't sound so crazy when you see something liek the current natural gas powered car boom in Utah, fueld by gasoline-equivalent prices of less than a dollar per gallon.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Thu May 29, 2008 at 10:14:24 AM PDT

  •  well this is beautiful and all (0+ / 0-)

    but I still ain't ever going to purchase gas from ExxonMobil until they take responsibility for the Valdez cleanup.

    I've driven along and along until I come along a BP/Amoco/Arco, Unocal, Whatever else.  I think I'd rather run out of gas.

  •  Public Relations (0+ / 0-)

    They are backing away in plain sight, I still question what they are doing behind the scenes. They're massive pension debacle may have them needing the public on their side.
    Heck, if we actually did sue Saudi Arabia, 'Profit Sharing Agreement' becomes a reasonable defense. Exxon actually may end up being a chief defendant. Consider that-OPEC only gets 68% of their asking price at best, suing them may actually gain sympathy for the House that Bush built. Exxon, Chevron ,BP and Conoco actually end up looking like the really bad guys.

    This was either a political deal to quiet the much balleyhooed lawsuit or there is something bigger in mind. Maybe they have decided to release the technology they purchased from Purdue concerning the engine that converts water for hydrogen fuel cells. Who knows, but I am often suspicious of any moves these animals make.
    Maybe they are trying to get us feling they have a heart so we ignore their sister company Chevron funding the military junta in Myanmar? Who knows, but if the devil offers you something good he more than likely has a string attached.
    Maybe backing away from their  funding of global warming deniers is an effort to push nuclear energy? Synthetic Uranium comes from crude oil, maybe thats their angle, get the stupid on their side to cover up the obvious questions?

    I don't know, but something smells fishy.

  •  I guess that it was getting too hot for them (0+ / 0-)

    nyuk-nyuk-nyuk

    John McCain's Court will overturn Roe; don't kid yourself.

    by Seneca Doane on Thu May 29, 2008 at 02:16:44 PM PDT

  •  EXXON MOBIL Tiger's Vacation: (0+ / 0-)

    EXXON MOBIL's 'Tiger in the Tank' is on Vacation, sunning himself in an 'undisclosed location' on a Tropical Resort Island formerly owned by DORIS DUKE, the (batty as a belfry) Tobacco Heiress, but sold to JOE CAMEL, the famous RJ REYNOLDS Tobacco Company's CAMEL Cigarette Model.

    They were seen slugging back Shots of MAKER'S MARK Bourbon Whiskey, smokin' CAMELS Unfiltered (they are MACHO MEN, by God!) & periodically bursting into fits of uncontrollable LAUGHTER, as they SHARED some of their CORPORATE BOSSES funniest P.R. "SPIN DOCTORING" rhetoric spun to FOOL THE PUBLIC & "HUMOR" any Congress members foolish enough to think they could "TAKE THEM ON".

    EXXON's TIGER took a Puff of his Camel cigarette, & told JOE CAMEL: Seriously, my Bosses told me I just gotta "LAY LOW" for a while, until they get can use me again, after they've GOTTEN A MONOPOLY on the new "ALTERNATIVE ENERGY" businesses! Meanwhile, EXXON MOBIL will put out a BUNCH of "GREENWASHED" T.V. commercials about how they really care about "CLIMATE CHANGE", so GREENPEACE & all those OTHER "Lefty Loonies" will shut up!

    JOE CAMEL: Hey, what's that OIL TANKER doing, out there in our HARBOR?  OH MY GOD, it's breaking in TWO, LOOK AT ALL THAT OIL spilling out!

    EXXON's TIGER:  Shit, that's sure gonna f*ck your Island's beaches up, too bad, Man! Let's SPLIT, Amigo, I'll show you MY own COOL Tropical Island!
    EXXON MOBIL bought it for me as a little "BONUS" for helping get the BUSH family's IDIOT SON into the friggin' WHITE HOUSE!

    JOE CAMEL: Awesome Dude! Pass me a Joint, while you're at it!  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

  •  Great timing (0+ / 0-)

    See, while Republicans were in charge, it was "doesn't exist, doesn't exist, doesn't exist." Once Democrats cement their control next year, it'll be "it's here, and it's the Democrat's fault!"

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