Science for sale

ExxonMobil's big down payment on debunking global warming.

Published April 18, 2005 8:49PM (EDT)

We knew that global warming naysayers were on the take from the oil industry. But the new issue of Mother Jones does an impressive job of documenting how Big Oil fosters skepticism about climate change, years after the vast majority of scientists agree that it's happening, it's going to get worse, and, yes, it's our fault.

From 2000 to 2003, ExxonMobil spent more than eight million dollars funding some forty think tanks and organizations, whose pundits dutifully propagate the idea that today's man-made C02-emissions aren't really a threat to the future. It sounds like a lot of money, but it's probably a pretty good investment: Considering how much the Bush administration's lassiez-faire policies on global warming means to ExxonMobil's bottom line, isn't defending those policies in the court of public opinion, using an army of paid commentators with impressive sounding pedigrees, worth it?

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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