The Best “Science” Money Can Buy
ExxonMobil plows millions into funding for 40 climate-skeptic groups
In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute outlined a strategy to sow the seeds of doubt about global-warming science “with Congress, the media, and other key audiences.” “Victory will be achieved,” read an API memo, “when … recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’” Since then, ExxonMobil — one of API’s leading members — has been working valiantly in pursuit of that strategy, even as other oil, energy, and car companies bow out in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus or public pressure. From 2000 to 2003, Exxon funneled more than $8 million into a network of think tanks, quasi-journalistic media outlets, and civic and religious groups, to great effect. While peer-reviewed scientific journals contain virtually nothing that challenges the consensus on anthropogenic global warming, a flood of “reports,” press releases, and op-ed columns has succeeded in creating the illusion of scientific controversy, seized on by sympathetic lawmakers like Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who calls global warming a “hoax” and — whaddya know! — also receives buckets of money from Exxon.
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