Monday, December 7, 2009

The Role of Oil Companies In Funding Climate Skepticism

The Role of Oil Companies In Funding Climate Skepticism

Every time I point to the scientists like Professor Lindzen at MIT who are skeptical, I hear the claim that the oil companies and other fossil fuel firms are funding the climate skeptics--and therefore we don't have to listen to those scientists, or at least we don't have to take them seriously. So what a surprise! Guess who provided funding to the AGW crowd? From a July 5, 2000 email in the CRU dump:
From: "Mick Kelly"
Subject: Shell
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 13:31:00 +0100
Cc:, t.o'

Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday. Only a minor part of the agenda, but I expect they will accept an invitation to act as a strategic partner and will contribute to a studentship fund though under certain conditions. I now have to wait for the top-level soundings at their end after the meeting to result in a response. We, however, have to discuss asap what a strategic partnership means, what a studentship fund is, etc, etc. By email? In person?

I hear that Shell's name came up at the TC meeting. I'm ccing this to Tim who I think was involved in that discussion so all concerned know not to make an independent approach at this stage without consulting me! I'm talking to Shell International's climate change team but this approach will do equally for the new foundation as it's only one step or so off Shell's equivalent of a board level. I do know a little about the Fdn and what kind of projects they are looking for. It could be relevant for the new building, incidentally, though opinions are mixed as to whether it's within the remit.



Mick Kelly Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom
Tel: 44-1603-592091 Fax: 44-1603-507784
(Thanks to Watts Up With That? for the pointer.)

There is a long history of corporations promoting governmental regulation ostensibly for the public good--but really, because they have figured out how to use regulation to injure smaller, less able or less connected competitors. See Gabriel Kolko's The Triumph of Conservatism for a detailed account of how Progressive Era federal regulation of business was, in almost every case, driven by Big Business interests for their own economic benefit, or to prevent more onerous state or local regulation.

It may be that fossil fuel companies bought into this stuff because they figured it was better to be in on it early, and try to manipulate the resulting process. Or perhaps they figured that, like some big companies, if you promote all the Politically Correct stuff, such as gay pride parades, then you get cover for abusing the rest of your workforce.

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