I’ve no idea how many hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent (one way or another) on promoting the idea (a) that man has played a significant part in creating any climate change and/or (b) that there is very much that man can do to head it off, but the number is easily large enough to make the following look utterly absurd:
The oil giant ExxonMobil has admitted that its support for lobby groups that question the science of climate change may have hindered action to tackle global warming. In its corporate citizenship report, released last week, ExxonMobil says it intends to cut funds to several groups that “divert attention” from the need to find new sources of clean energy. The move comes ahead of the firm’s annual meeting today in Dallas, at which prominent shareholders including the Rockefeller family will urge ExxonMobil to take the problem of climate change more seriously. Green campaigners accuse the company of funding a “climate denial industry” over the last decade, with $23m (£11.5m) handed over to groups that play down the risks of burning fossil fuels. The ExxonMobil report says: “In 2008 we will discontinue contributions to several public policy research groups whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.
That said, ExxonMobil is free to spend its money (or not) as its shareholders think fit. Speaking of which, however, those shareholders might begin by asking why the company is producing a ‘corporate citizenship’ report in the first place.