Exxon has hit back at the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific organization. A few days ago news broke that the RS had sent Exxon a letter in September scolding it for funding organizations that mislead the public on global warming. This was a highly unusual thing for any august scientific body to do, but those familiar with the traditionally staid RS were particularly surprised.

Exxon accuses the RS of “inaccurately and unfairly” depicting it as an agent of scientific misinformation on global warming. That’s horsesh*t. As anyone who’s read Chris Mooney’s definitive "Some Like It Hot" knows, the characterization is entirely accurate.

The more interesting question has to do with Exxon’s relationship to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, source of this Spring’s delightfully and unintentionally hilarious "CO2 … we call it life" ads. Those ads kicked up a lot of dust, and since then Exxon reps have privately told a number of people — including Bob Ward at the RS — that it is no longer funding CEI.

I hear from my sources (I’ve always wanted to say that) that Exxon’s claim may be flatly false. There’s no proof yet, and won’t be until the respective organizations’ financials are released, but this quote raises one’s suspicions:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Exxon said yesterday: “Contrary to the inferences made in the recent reports in the media and allegations by the Royal Society, ExxonMobil had no involvement with the CEI’s advertisements, nor in the Al Gore film spoof.”

(Here’s the film spoof in question.)

So "no involvement with the CEI’s advertisements," huh? This non-denial denial leaves open the possibility that they’re funding CEI, but have no specific say over CEI’s ads — a description I presume applies to all of CEI’s funders, but doesn’t really let them off the hook, now does it?

Every organization that gives a dime to CEI should be called out publicly and asked if they support position taken in the ads.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Watch for more on this in coming weeks, and of course check ExxposeExxon for your ongoing Exxon-bashing needs.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.