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How ExxonMobil Funded Global Warming Skeptics

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the gotta-keep-our-minds-open dept.

Businesses 625

Erik Moeller writes "According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, oil company ExxonMobil 'has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.' The report compares the tactics employed by the oil giant to those used by the tobacco industry in previous decades, and identifies key individuals who have worked on both campaigns. Would a 'global warming controversy' exist without the millions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies to discredit scientific conclusions?"

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625 comments

News at 10 (5, Insightful)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477334)

Big business lobbies to protect its interests!

and the enviromentalist (0, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477688)

are as pure as the wind driven snow. BOTH sides have lied IMO. Somewhere between the two, you'll find the truth. "Technically" global warming does exist, but, the output from the sun has increased in the past decade or more. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you increase the temperature of the oven, the food gets warm. I remember when I was in high school back in the 70's, everyone was worried about global cooling. I remember winters were BRUTALLY cold. If people can get the sky is falling mentality out of their heads and think, maybe we can figure all of this out without shouting down each other ;)

Re:and the enviromentalist (4, Insightful)

jotok (728554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478036)

Doesn't take a rocket scientist

But apparently it takes a bored IT guy on slashdot to correct an international consortium of climatologists.
Maybe you ought to take a course in the statistical analysis of experimental data, and when you have a grasp of how scientists analyze data to construct theories that explain observations, they often take many things into account, you can rejoin the discussion.

Or, the short version: THE FACT THAT THE SOLAR RADIATION HAS INCREASED HAS BEEN ACCOUNTED FOR.

Good day!

News at 2am (2, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477714)

Environmentalist groups lobby to protect their interests!

Re:News at 2am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477872)

News flash: Study shows Slashdot frequented by selfish, libertarian, pseudo-educated, tech geeks!

And now the weather...

The real reason for global warming: (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477338)

All the flames that are about to be posted...

Clueless (or humorless) mods strike again (4, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477640)

It's too bad that you got a mod or two as "troll" instead of "funny", but that itself should have been expected because you're absolutely correct with respect to what's about to happen. The inflammatory (no pun intended) nature of the article summary itself just begs for the whole damned thing to be marked as "troll" or "flamebait".

Look, the whole idea that any company or organization would attempt to skew any studies to their own viewpoint is universal. Enviornmentalists are always looking to make surveys/studies support their viewpoint. Corporations are always looking to make surveys/studies support their viewpoint. Skeptics are always looking to make surveys/studies support their viewpoint. Conspiracy theorists are always looking to make surveys/studies support their viewpoint. Anyone with any kind of agenda is always looking to make surveys/studies support his viewpoint. But in this case it's "big oil" { insert doom-and-gloom music here }, so therefore their attempts to skew results are somehow more evil than other groups doing it? What a complete and utter crock.

The question of "Would a 'global warming controversy' exist without the millions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies to discredit scientific conclusions?" is infuriating by itself. Hell, yes there would be a controversy for numerous reasons that have been stated time and time and time again, not the least of which is that without indisputable proof, which I still don't believe we have, there will always be room for skepticism. Honestly, the whole notion that skepticism is unhealthy, as that last line suggests, is an abhorrent idea in itself.

Yeah, yeah, mod me down for actually contesting a Slashdot article and for being somewhat of a global warming skeptic. I have karma to burn, but that doesn't make what I've said any less valid.

An Internet+Climate Connection? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477980)

Internet flaming has been going on for almost as long as scientific types have been warming up to the idea of Global Warming (err, 'scuse the pun...)

I think you may have stumbled on the root cause - I commend you, sir!

/P

I've got an idea (3, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477352)

why don't the tobacco companies merge with the oil companies then if they're so similar. Then you just know eventually someone will make a careless mistake and BOOM! That'll kill two very evil birds with one stone :-)

Re:I've got an idea (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477556)

But then I would not be able to put gas in my hybrid to drive to the store to buy my Nabisco [kraft.com] cookies.

Re:I've got an idea (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477780)

why don't the tobacco companies merge with the oil companies then if they're so similar.

Oil is a global environmental problem with far reaching implications for the Earth even after (ab?)use is stopped. Tobacco is primarily a local or personal problem - if abused. I *like* smoking the occasional cigarette - the tobacco cos are providing a service useful to me. Otherwise I'd have to grow my own tobacco, and I don't really have the land for it :/

-b.

Re:I've got an idea (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478030)

One might argue that smoking is also a "global" problem inasmuch as the society has to pay for the lung cancer treatment and care and the lost productivity.

Then again, perhaps the heavy fag taxes are covering all that, who knows?

Re:I've got an idea (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478054)

Its not the selling of tobacco that makes them so evil- that in and of itself would be ok. Its the facts that

*They knew about the dangers of the product for a long time without revealing them
*When it was revealed, instead of admitting it, they fought against it for decades
*THey actively take steps to make their product more addictive

Had they fessed up to the health problems and not tried to make a deadly product even harder to get off of, they'd be no worse than a McDonalds or Jack&Daniels- both of who's products cause harm if not used in moderation. Unfortunately, they decided to go the other route, and as a result a lot of people have died, many of whom may have saved their lives by quitting or cutting back had they known. Thats evil.

Re:I've got an idea (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478046)

Shell believes in global warming [guardian.co.uk] . So does BP [dieoff.org] . In fact, most oil companies do. Exxon Mobil is just a dinosaur. They're pretty bad on every front [laborrights.org] .

I always hate it when people talk about "oil companies" as if they're one big, monolithic entity.

Re:I've got an idea (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478096)

Either that or you'll never have to ask anyone to help light your cigarette again.

I'm a global warming skeptic... (3, Funny)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477390)

...and I have been for years. Where do I sign up to get my check from Exxon?

Re:I'm a global warming skeptic... (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477608)

Where do I sign up to get my check from Exxon?

With the man wearing the rubber glove.

Re:I'm a global warming skeptic... (4, Insightful)

seriesrover (867969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477886)

Exactly.


I think this is a report that is trying to link some sort of monies to conspiracies and agendas. $15M spread across 42 (to remove the one high example they use) organizations over 8 years = $45K a year on average. Its a lot to an individual but hardly enough to fund "access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming".

Further, I see froth but no substance - no irrefutible proof saying that Exxon doesnt mind global warning or that it doesnt exist, or even that they dont care. The best I can see is that a group that recieved money "touted a book". Incidently, they use this as "an example" because the group recieved $600K - far above the average amount given, so its hardly a typical example.

This is clearly a biased report hoping to use allegations and bend them into truth. I am a sceptic but in the sense that I dont think anyone has a grasp on whats really going on, whats normal, and how much us humans have played a part in any change that has happened. I'm a skeptic when anyone tells me they have all the answers.

Re:I'm a global warming skeptic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478016)


Where do I sign up to get my check from Exxon?


You don't seem to understand. You aren't part of the conspiracy. You are one of the dupes.

Official Reply By XOM (4, Informative)

The_Pariah (991496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477392)

ExxonMobil's Response to a Report by the Union of Concerned Scientists ExxonMobil believes the Union of Concerned Scientists' paper is deeply offensive and wrong. ExxonMobil engages in public policy discussions by encouraging serious inquiry, analysis, the sharing of information and transparency. Our support of scientific research on climate change is made public on our web site and it includes more than 40 peer reviewed papers authored by ExxonMobil scientists, and our participation on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and numerous related scientific bodies. While there is more to learn on climate science, what is clear today is that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change, and that the use of fossil fuels is a major source of these emissions. With regard to contributions that ExxonMobil provides to various public policy organizations, our support is transparent and appears on our web site. The support extends to a fairly broad array of organizations that research significant domestic and foreign policy issues and promote discussion on issues of direct relevance to the company. These groups range from the Brookings Institution to the American Enterprise Institute and from the Council on Foreign Relations to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As these organizations are independent of their corporate sponsors and are tax-exempt, we don't control their views and messages, and they do not speak on our behalf. In many cases and with respect to the full range of policy positions taken by these organizations, we find some of them persuasive and enlightening, and some not. We annually review our support of tax-exempt organizations and make appropriate adjustments. In addition, we publish the complete list of such organizations on our web site - and we update this list once per year. Supporting scientific and public policy research leads to better informed and more open discussion of options to address such a serious, global issue as climate change. http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Newsroom/NewsR eleases/corp_nr_mr_climate.asp [exxonmobil.com] They provide me with an income. I'm happy with them. But this doesn't I agree with all their policies. I just fix their computers!

Re:Official Reply By XOM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477984)

ExxonMobil believes the Union of Concerned Scientists' paper is deeply offensive and wrong.

The UCS report may or may not be "wrong" but "deeply offensive"? Is UCS publishing photos of unconventional sex? I don't get it.

...what is clear today is that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change, and that the use of fossil fuels is a major source of these emissions.

There you have it folks. ExxonMobile acknowledges that use of their product is causing global warming.

Re:Official Reply By XOM (1)

TheCrayfish (73892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478056)

what is clear today is that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change, and that the use of fossil fuels is a major source of these emissions

Well, there you go. While it's easy to demonize any large organization of people, I hope the critics of ExxonMobile will at least acknowledge that the Big Mean Evil Corporation DOES recognize the role its products play in global warming. This admission on their part represents a significant difference from the positions of the tobacco companies back during the 1970s regarding the impact of cigarette smoking on health.

Now if someone could just explain to me how ExxonMobile is responsible for the fact that the glaciers of North America have been melting and receding for the past 12,000 years, we'll be all set.

UCS - definitely unbiased (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477414)

The UCS, which has it's own agenda and pushes it at every opportunity, is upset because someone on the opposite side wants their view heard as well? To bad.

The UCS no more wants open debate over issues than any other special interest - they want to frame all discussion so their viewpoint prevails; since only +they+ have the right answer.

Biased for protecting our only environment? (3, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477448)

I'm willing to accept that bias. Until we find Earth v2.0, we should be much more careful with Earth v1.0.

Re:Biased for protecting our only environment? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477840)

We found it and cancelled it. That show sucked. Except for the Noxema chick. She was hot.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (5, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477542)

I agree that UCS is heavily biased and is just a political front group that has abandoned scientific reporting and married itself to marketing. Read their FAQ about global warming [ucsusa.org] . They certainty about topics that are still heavily debated by legit scientists.

That said... Exxon has every right to honestly defend itself, but if they have indeed created front groups or are knowingly spreading misinformation they should be properly scorned.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (2, Insightful)

mpa000 (129787) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477564)

I could not agree more.

The UCS *depends* on climate fears for it's existence.

It is as much a political player in this and has as much to gain or lose as any Corporation.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477670)

Could you mention what that agenda is? You left it out in your comment.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (1)

seriesrover (867969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477948)

Their existance and that corporations are always wrong no matter what.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477690)

The UCS no more wants open debate over issues than any other special interest - they want to frame all discussion so their viewpoint prevails; since only +they+ have the right answer.

Alright, so ExxonMobil does this because they think they will gain financially from it. What exactly do you contend the UCS gains from adopting the opposite viewpoint?

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477870)

Let's see: approval, recognition, pat-on-the-back for going up against the "big boys", etc.

ooh, yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17478050)

'cos y'know, THAT spends!

idiot.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477906)

What exactly do you contend the UCS gains from adopting the opposite viewpoint?
Ultimately - they hope - the White House and other political powers.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477932)

Additional funding for its members studying various pet research programs, including global warming, pollution effects on wildlife, and investigating the effects of chemicals such as perchlorate on human health, among other things. I'm still trying to understand their view on nuclear power.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478114)

If it was about money their members could make so much more shilling for the oil companies.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (3, Informative)

mcostas (973159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477706)

UCS is only biased towards science. They are non-partisan and far less political than any of the other environmental groups like Sierra Club or NRDC. Their reports are always thorough and fact filled, they don't hesitate to criticize or commend all political parties. This is why they can usually get hundreds of leading scientists and Nobel prize winners to sign onto their statements.

Facts? (1)

internic (453511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477770)

Your comment would be a lot more persuasive (and useful) if you said exactly what this agenda is supposed to be and actually provided some facts to back up your claim.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477894)

Opinions and agendas are like assholes. everyone has one.

Re:UCS - definitely unbiased (5, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477916)

The UCS, which has it's own agenda and pushes it at every opportunity, is upset because someone on the opposite side wants their view heard as well? To bad.


Hear hear. I'm sick and tired of hearing what scientists think about global warming: it's about time that we heard from the oil companies.

biased how exactly? (3, Informative)

jimmyfergus (726978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477962)

What is their agenda? I'm not that familiar with it, so I'm interested to know where they deviate from widely accepted science?

Another poster mentioned their global warming FAQ [ucsusa.org] , but I read it and thought that most of what I read was pretty uncontroversial among qualified climate scientists (apart from a few counter-views, which almost always seem to be oil-funded).

Given that you assert UCS is a special interest, how do they profit from acceptance of their assertions? It's obvious how oil companies profit directly from the rejection of a theory of human-generated climate change.

How can a global warming conclusion be scientific? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477430)

Honest question, I promise. Claiming the conclusion is "scientific" would seem to imply that scientists have been able to make accurate, statistically signfiicant predictions of climate change, given existing C02 etc. emission measurements. That's *future* predictions, not curve-fitting the past. To rule out chance, you'd probably need over 20 years of data.

What kind of models even fit on computers 20 years ago?

I don't doubt that GW predictions follow from current scientific knowledge, but for those predictions to be "science", don't they need to have experienced statistically significant validation already?

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477524)

They have. Slowdown of the North Atlantic Current, increases in global average temperatures, melting of glaciers, raising of ocean levels (and no, they were not expected to be in the multiple yard levels) have all been inline with the median models.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477646)

And the predictions that those would happen were on record as being the scientific consensus before they happened, and the predictions that have gone on record were right far more often than they were wrong (i.e., no John Edward), and this happened frequently enough to be statistically significant?

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477730)

The current observations are largely inline with the median projections of the IPCC. See http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/online.htm/ [www.ipcc.ch] for the full shebang.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477876)

So, that's a "no" then.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478020)

I should have known this was a troll. Do you even know what the IPCC is, and how those reports were created?

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478082)

I should have known you'd use intimidation. Do you even know what "statistically significant" means, and what it takes to rule out chance?

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477812)

First my bonafides - I'm a global warming skeptic - at least when it comes to mankind being the cause. I could accept that there is a general warming trend right now (Poles getting smaller seems to be a simple proof of the concept.)

However, proving that man is the cause is a whole different kettle of fish. Consider the following points - The Sun is the single largest contributor to the Earth's temperature, consequently variation in it's output is a first order effect. Oh -and did you know the Sun HAS changed it's output slightly in recent years?

Anyway - the fact that Exxon is spending money to get their point across is no more abnormal than UCS pointing out what Exxon is doing as part of THEIR actions to get UCS's point of view across.

No big deal in my mind.

Now -fill up my tank!

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477958)

However, the Max Planck Institute's own data on the sun's contribution to the Earth's temperature show that its periods of higher output do not coincide with recent rises in the Earth's temperature. They were the group to do the sun study, and they claim that the sun's output is not a significant contributing factor to global warming.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (2, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478068)

Anyway - the fact that Exxon is spending money to get their point across is no more abnormal than UCS pointing out what Exxon is doing as part of THEIR actions to get UCS's point of view across.


Absolutely.

Regarding the effect of solar forcing, check out the wikipedia article. It's got good links to studies that have shown that solar forcing only accounts for about 25% of the recorded increase in global temperatures.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477736)

Claiming the conclusion is "scientific" would seem to imply that scientists have been able to make accurate, statistically signfiicant predictions of climate change, given existing C02 etc. emission measurements. That's *future* predictions, not curve-fitting the past.


Actually, you can do a valid scientific test if the predictions aren't the material you derived the hypothesized relationship from, whether or not the measurements are of events from the past. Otherwise, all of paleontology would be non-scientific.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477828)

Actually, you can do a valid scientific test if the predictions aren't the material you derived the hypothesized relationship from, whether or not the measurements are of events from the past.

True, however:

a) Because the scientist already knows the time history, he doesn't have to put his neck on the line; he can always add and remove factors he chooses to deem "significant", thus making it an exercise in curve-fitting.

b) The predictions came from one material (weather observations) and are of that material (weather observations).

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477778)

Prediction and observation.

Currently, we're observing that the planet is warming up. That is a simple fact. No scientific dispute.

To this observation, you can match models, to explain why the warming occurs. That is the theory. No scientific dispute exist about the theory either, that the warming is caused by human activities, specifically because of the burning of fossil fuels.

No reasonable human being can argue about the observation and if you want to argue about the theory, to explain the reason of the warming, you need to satisfy the scientific scrutiny.

Re:How can a global warming conclusion be scientif (1)

seriesrover (867969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478088)

And in the 70's we were "observing" climate change cooling down we were told by scientists. And it was non-disputable then.


But the question is this: How much is the change due to us (from 0-100%) or natural cycles (0-100%)? I don't think there were SUVs around during the last ice age so we know its not all us.


And further, should we be trying to counteract "mother nature" to provide a conistent climate?

Yeah... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477442)

because the "Union of Concerned Scientists" sounds really non-biased.

"Union of Concerned Scientists" (0, Troll)

Olentangy (118364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477470)

When will the "Union of Concerned Scientists" change their name to "Union of Liberal Scientists"? It should have been their name from day one.

Re:"Union of Concerned Scientists" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477610)

Would it be close enough for you if they changed their name to "Union of Educated Scientists"? You know, 'cause they actually have some clue about the things they, I dunno, RESEARCH?

In perspective (4, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477480)

$16 million over a 7 year period is nothing, especially for a company that regularly posts profits in the $30 billion dollar range. And none of this matters unless someone actually reports on the "findings" and "analysis" of ExxonMobile's "specialists." If anything, the media is responsible for creating the image of some debate about global warming (even though a huge scientific consensus exists).

Re:In perspective (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477956)

$16 million may be nothing to an oil company, but its a hell of a lot to the rest of us. I know a lot of people who would swear the sky was falling for a lot less money over 7 years. This is the problem when a group with an agenda funds a study.

Thank you, ExxonMobil! (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477482)

I must thank you, ExxonMobil for your efforts and obvious lack of understanding of the scientific debate. In science, every attempt to disprove a fact confirmed theory just strengthens it.

So, I'd rather look at it from a different point of view: would there be the degree of certainty we have about global warming if it weren't for these jackasses? (no offense, John Knoxville!)

Re:Thank you, ExxonMobil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477584)

So what is a fact confirmed theory? A theory..., a fact..., or something in between?

Re:Thank you, ExxonMobil! (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477754)

Your question is extremely relevant.

My choice of words tried to convey my belief that all scientific knowledge is an ever improving fact confirmed theory, that evolves whenever we register new facts that don't fit the existing theory, until a new one emerges that is confirmed by all available facts.

You are correct to say that when all available facts confirm a given theory, it is no longer a theory. But given our past experience that eventually all theories are proven, at the very least, inaccurate, I prefer to continue to call it a theory, even knowing that it isn't the common use of the word.

Re:Thank you, ExxonMobil! (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477992)

In science, every attempt to disprove a fact confirmed theory just strengthens it.

Except that, these groups did nothing to try to disprove the theory.

They're PR agencies whose only job was to try to convince people that the science on the other side was wrong. They performed no actual scientific studies of their own.

There is actual science that suggests alternatives to global warming, but that's not what this article was talking about.

And, in answer to all the posts saying that we didn't cause global warming, I have to ask why it matters. If there was a large meteor that had a good chance of hitting Earth shouldn't we do everything we could to deflect it? Even though we didn't cause it? If we don't do anything, I doubt any of the other species on this planet will.

Funding... (1)

jamesivie (805019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477502)

All research funding comes from somewhere. Where did the money for research that supports global warming come from? I'm sure that none of it came from companies with an interest in convincing people that global warming is real. Call me a cynic, but I think EVERYTHING needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Still no match for the government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477528)

No matter how much money the "oil industry" or any industry throws at "scientists" it is no match for the government and their endless reams of paper, printing presses, and authoritarian control.

Government sponsored funding will have us thinking what is "right" in no time at all. And I suspect what is right is anything that will convince us that government is the only solution to our problems, and if there are no problems, then government will tell us that as well.

As long as we keep private industry away from research, we'll all be ok. Lets not mention the fact that refusing to buy oil won't land me in jail... unlike refusing to pay taxes.

Wolf and sheep (1)

extern_void (1041264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477570)

This is the perfect example of sheep under care of wolves.

Commonalities (1)

Simon la Grue (1021753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477598)

...makes sense since they both make a fuss over tar.

They're all morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477600)

When someone can accurately predict what tomorrow's forecast is going to be, then maybe I'll considering listening to what either side has to say.

Re:They're all morons (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477914)

When someone can accurately predict what tomorrow's forecast is going to be, then maybe I'll considering listening to what either side has to say.

Long-term *trends* are a lot easier to predict than short term fluctuations. Your doctor is likely to say "you'll likely be alive a year from now" then "you won't get a cold tomorrow."

-b.

doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477612)

It doesn't matter who has been paying money to attack global warming.

That's because the conservatives say global warming is a hoax, and they are always right about everything, and so we can be 100% sure it really is a hoax.

I mean, look how right they were about things would turn out in Iraq.

What Global Warming? (2, Funny)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477634)

Rush Limbaugh told me that the only reason that it's not snowing in winter anymore in the northern sections of the U.S. is because of the number of cows we farm and the carbon moronoxide they expude from their butts. Cow farts != global warming folks! And besides, even if global warming is happening (which it isn't) there's a lot of benefits: The southern U.S. will become a tropical paradise. The mid U.S. will be able to produce different crops. And even the Canadians will benefit in that they won't have those savage winters anymore. Any concerns about coastal areas flooding can be put to rest as the army corp of engineers will be able to build very efficient and effective dams and breakwalls for most normal situations. Besides, floodwaters can easily be pumped out back to the ocean to lower the local water level. So stop all this worrying. There is no global warming. Rush told me so and I believe him. Megadittos!!!

Re:What Global Warming? (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477978)

I realize that you're being a smart ass; but if you really think that he believes all of that then it's clear that you don't really listen to him.

No Snow!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477998)

I'm a snowboarder you insensitive clod!

Re:What Global Warming? (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478028)

I wasn't sure if this was satire or not until the last sentence. Its sad that there are people in the world who would say the same things you just said and whole-heartedly mean it, and that they are numerous enough that I had some honest doubt about the seriousness of your post until the very end.

Ah Damn... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477636)

I was hoping I wouldn't have to see another article about whose experts are more biased than others. Now I get to watch whole flames erupt over completely pointless issues.

Can we not get back to the fundamental problem of figuring out what path Global Warming is going to take, it's impact and how we are should deal with it? All this crap is just wasted air.

We know so little about the world and its weather! (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477658)

Would a 'global warming controversy' exist without the millions of dollars spent by fossil fuel companies to discredit scientific conclusions?

Yes. I'm one of them and for good reason. Ice cores and incomplete and inaccurate data only going back ~125 years, of which only 50% is probably usable, can only tell us so much. There is so much to learn about how the weather patterns on the Earth operate.

Re:We know so little about the world and its weath (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477942)

Don't need to hire "experts" to confuse people (5, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477660)

The average American is confused enough as it is.
Look, it's simple: all of the authorities and powers-that-be could have been in total agreement for the last 2 decades, warning people about global warming in every available media outlet and it wouldn't have mattered because Joe Sixpack doesn't give a shit. And politicians won't force people to do the right thing, because that doesn't get you elected.
Unless it unavoidably and directly impacts the price of beer or his ability to watch his favorite TV show, Joe wouldn't care if his SUV ran on mulched babies. "Scrubs" has it right: people are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. And global warming is Somebody Else's Problem.

Re:Don't need to hire "experts" to confuse people (1, Insightful)

MindSlap (640263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477858)

Look, it's simple: all of the authorities and powers-that-be could have been in total agreement for the last 2 decades, warning people about global warming in every available media outlet and it wouldn't have mattered because Joe Sixpack doesn't give a shit.
Really?
'Cept 20 years ago the 'experts' were warning about global COOLING.
But hey! Whats a lil 'minor' error between 'concerned scientists' right?
Global Warming!! Yeah! Now THATS where the MONEY is at!
Hurry up! The bandwagon is leaving for its next stop!

Re:Don't need to hire "experts" to confuse people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477990)

For Christ's sake, would you stop it already with that fucking urban legend about some alleged "global cooling" scare?

I'm shocked! (1)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477692)

A large corporation spending money to defend it's business? I'm shocked!

the problem doesn't lie with Exxon-Mobil, it lies with the whole corporate structure in general. If they don't defend their bottom line, they can get sued by shareholders (Look at how Dodge got their startup capital). Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

Hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477700)

moeller@scireview.de

Global Warming Doesn't Even Enter Into It (4, Insightful)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477702)

Global warming shouldn't even enter into it. The whole "global warming debate" is a smokescreen blown from both sides to avoid asking the really tricky, really pertinent questions, namely: "Global warming aside, is spewing fossil fuel byproducts into the atmosphere bad for the environment in general?" (Yes.) "Is a complete and total reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels and pigheadedly refusing to look into alternative energy sources because they aren't where the money is a bad plan?" (Yes.) "What are our next steps?" (We don't know.) So people bitch and moan about global warming because it's a nice, round cornered, warm and fuzzy topic that any idiot can get his head around, as opposed to the intricate economic and political machinations behind the energy (read: fossil fuel) trade as a whole. It's just like hippies whining about recycling saving trees when the real issue is so much more complex than that. They just ignore the rest of it because it doesn't make a good tagline and it's harder for the average public-school-educated-Joe to understand. And things that the average public-school-educated-Joe has a hard time understanding make him change the channel, which is bad for support and bad for business.

Re:Global Warming Doesn't Even Enter Into It (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477822)

Great post.

I agree. Forget the whole mess about global warming and all of the debate a pseudo-science and marketing bullshit. Focus on your local city and the damage done by local pollutants. I don't by into global warming but I do know that my city's emissions laws have made the air healthier.

I also know that most of the world is dependent on a limited natural resource that is coming primarily from an incredibly unstable region. Let's invest resources in developing fuels and systems that can use renewable or local energy sources and invest in the technology and processes to get those technologies into real products.

Get the facts before you spout off (1)

ethernetmonkey (743390) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477704)

This is a great article for those people whose neurons are not already connected to the mainstream media and Al Gore's frontal lobe:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220 [opinionjournal.com] .

Oh, and it is written by the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT so we may surmise he knows a tad bit more about climate change than Gore.

No there would not be a controversy (4, Insightful)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477764)

Because the scientific communty would still shun any scientist that questions the present assumptions. Now take away funding from those voices that dare to question and we would has even less understanding than we have today.

What do you EXPECT Exxon to do? (1)

BarnabyWilde (948425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477776)

When Exxon is attacked by the application of what's LARGELY junk science (the *man-made* global warming part), what do you expect them to do?

Lie down and die?

No way.

They're going to TRY to explain that there is actually a DEBATE that needs to happen.

Are you against debate? Are you against getting to the TRUTH, no matter where it lies?

Or do you actually prefer being a sheeple, unable to think for yourself?

BWilde

Data? (0, Flamebait)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477788)

Honestly, I'm not a funded skeptic (although I wouldn't mind a few bucks for speaking my own piece) but some of the data collection methods (I'll attach a link when I get home, I can't find it here at work) for global warming have error ranges that pretty well invalidate the data. For example, there are instances of temperature data being derived by the date upon which grapes were harvested in a given year - it seems that science is being driven by politics and seeking the conclusions it wants to come to instead of the other way around. I don't doubt for a minute that the globe might be warming up, but nobody has really hard data that shows that it is truly due to greenhouse gas emissions. Honestly, if we really knew the answer, would there be *this* much debate? I'm all for going green, and hey, it might do some good, but science hasn't much shown either way an effective relationship. I could show you data that would just as easily say that global warming is due to my age.

Save the planet (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478102)

I could show you data that would just as easily say that global warming is due to my age."

Quick! Someone kill this guy before he gets any older!

Union of concerned ... (1)

jacekm (895699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477792)

Let's create "Society of Responsbile PC Users" or something in that sense. The more sofisticated name we can come up with, the better. Then we can publish whatever BS we want as long as it is attacking the evil corporations. We can then get away with murder. JAM

Oh noes! (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477808)

Will we see a breathless story detailing the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by governments around the world supporting global warming proponents? Or how the Clinton and Blair governments actively try and silence those who dissent(ed) from the orthodoxy? Would there be a controversy if said governments actually allowed a real debate in the agencies which have made it their mission to impose the Kyoto Protocol?

But right, I forgot, big business is inherently evil.

How condescending... (1)

ml10422 (448562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477826)

What they call "confusing the public", I call practicing free speech. How condescending of the UCS to assume we simpletons can't sort out misinformation for ourselves.

The earth's axis wobbles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17477864)

The earth's axis wobbles slowly over thousands of years. The result is that the area near the poles exposed to sunlight during winter increases and decreases. This causes the polar ice caps to wax and wane. In the past, long before there were human beings on the planet, the arctic was a nice balmy 70 something F and most of North America was under water.

How much money has been spent by people who ignore that information and want to promote their cause? We need to limit the consumption of fossil fuels. Not because of mediocre science that asserts that they're causing global warming, but because when we run out we're screwed. Some people will survive, but lots of people will find living has become impossibly expensive because of high energy costs.

FWIW Exxon scientists were among the first to recognize that sea level has been rising and falling for as long as there is a rock record. They published this long before there was talk of global warming. If you know that sea level has been rising and falling over a ~600 ft range for billions of years it *might* make you sceptical that burning fossil fuels was causing the climate change that *appears* to be taking place.

The opinion of a medical scientist about global warming is just as irrelevant as the geophysicst's opinion about the causes of cancer. So if 98% of scientists who know nothing about the subject agree w/ the some journalist's story line, it means nothing more than they're humans and easily manipulated.

rhb

Yet nobody complains (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477898)

About the billion or so spent by George Soros to fight every traditional or conservative cause out there. There is plenty of FUD from both sides. You just need to be smart enough to sift the BS for the few grains of truth.

Skepticism is healthy (1)

Jake73 (306340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17477986)

I'm personally on the side of the science supporting global warming. But the truth is, skepticism is a healthy thing regardless of who funds it.

I think the skepticism and controversy has helped scientist secure more funding for their research into the issue. This, in turn, has helped them secure more proof supporting their stand. More funding and more research will help the truth distill faster. For something such as global warming that is time-critical, this is a good thing.

It sucks that there are those fighting to confuse the masses, but it just helps the truth clarify its arguments.

WOW! (4, Insightful)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478022)

So much money! That $16 million, over 7 years, divided by 43 groups, comes to the amazingly huge sum of $53,000 per year per group. Why, with that king of money, they could probably pay the salary of 1 person!

My God! They could take over the world with an army like that!

Global warming? (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478024)

Just went golfing yesterday. I for one saw the glass as half full.

Meh...Global Warming...Global Cooling (0)

MindSlap (640263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478026)

So..first it was Cooling..now warming.. I say we gather these 'concerned scientists' from both camps.
Get the past advocates of Global cooling and the current ones of global warming, stick em in a room and let them declare "Global Neutrality".

Ya..thats the ticket!

Not just oil companies: Bush administration, too (-1, Offtopic)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478042)

The Bush administration is also manipulating the media: Bush Spent $1.6 Bil. on 'Spin' [adweek.com] . The practice is illegal: Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal [nytimes.com] . The Bush administration believes that it can break laws: Bush challenges hundreds of laws [boston.com] . "Spinning" is an overly gentle word for lying. An October 24, 2006 Washington Post story, Spinning the Course [washingtonpost.com] explores a few of the lies which attempt to corrupt what the voters learn about their government.

That paragraph is from a summary of Bush administration corruption I wrote because I wanted to do more than just vote: The Bush administration found support for war through manipulation [futurepower.org] . I hope other people will write their own summaries.

How's this "news for nerds"? (1, Insightful)

sobiloff (29859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17478060)

I've been a /. participant for ages, and really enjoyed the news and commentary about technology issues. But, in the last year or so this site has taken to posting a lot of political stories which have generally taken a large step to the left. This story is another example of such. There's no techno-centric value to this story, merely polemics. I enjoy political discourse, but I go to political blogs to do so. Please, kdawson et al., we don't need /. to become another Daily Kos or FreeRepublic.
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