The Legacy of Corporate Polluters and Denial

  • Posted on: 15 December 2009
  • By: admin

In coming weeks and months, PolluterWatch will investigate and reveal the truth behind polluting industry’s concerted and effort to delay and derail society’s response to global climate change. The legacy of this long term campaign can be traced back at least 20 years. This history is reviewed well in the new book Climate Cover-up. Greenpeace has tracked ExxonMobil’s part in this campaign closely through the ExxonSecrets project and ExxposeExxon campaign. Our 2002 report is a chronology of Exxon’s efforts through the years to slow progress on climate change policy through misinformation and lobbying efforts.

A key document in this legacy is the 1998 American Petroleum Institute secret memo revealing a multimillion dollar coordinated campaign to reframe climate science in the public’s mind… to “inform the American public that science does not support the precipitous actions Kyoto would dictate…”

The corporate participants in “Global Climate Science Communications Team” included the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon, Chevron and The Southern Company, an electric utility from the southeast US and among the top carbon polluters in the world.

Front group think tank organizations on the team included the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the George Marshall Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, Americans for Tax Reform and the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.

The memo details that “potential funding sources” of the project would come from industry trade associations like the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Business Round Table (BRT), Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) as well as the individual corporate members of those trade groups.

The “potential fund allocators” (funnels) for the cash were identified as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Frontiers of Freedom (FoF) and the George Marshall Institute.  All of these institutions were funded heavily by ExxonMobil in the years after this memo was revealed.

This master plan was revealed on the front page of the NY Times, but that didn’t slow them down at all. Between 1998 and 2008, Greenpeace has tracked more than $22 Million from ExxonMobil alone funneled to groups who have pushed the denial of global warming and worked to delay policies to solve the climate crisis.  American Petroleum Institute also sent funding to many of these front groups and recently Koch Industries has picked up the slack as Exxon has been forced to retract its funding of the front groups.

Along the way, key scientists have emerged as spokesmodel deniers. Among these are Patrick Micheals, Fred Singer, Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, David Legates, Fred Seitz, Richard Lindzen and others.

Backing this campaign through the years have been lobbying efforts, puppet politicians, mulitmillion dollar advertising campaigns, astroturf campaigns, black ops and an assortment of other tricks.

PolluterWatch will reveal the truth behind this shameful legacy.