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Group Asks US Congress To Probe Exxon Climate Funding January 3, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The Union of Concerned Scientists, the latest group to accuse ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) of misleading the public on global warming, is urging the U.S. Congress to take action against the oil giant.

Exxon spent almost $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to fund 43 organizations that would help cloud the public’s understanding of climate change, the science-based nonprofit said in a report it released Wednesday.

“They cherry-pick the facts,” said Alden Meyer, director of the union’s director of strategy and policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did over 40 years.”

However, Exxon in a statement argued that the union’s 63-page report “is yet another attempt to smear our name and confuse the discussion of the serious issue of CO2 emissions and global climate change.”

Exxon said it agrees that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere poses risks and that the burning of fossil fuels like oil have contributed to the increased concentrations of gases in the atmosphere. The company added that it has tried to address that issue by becoming more energy efficient and pursuing research that would improve the efficiency of cars and trucks.

Exxon also argued that it supports various public policy organizations, not just climate change skeptics.

Still, the union of scientists and citizens is arguing that Congress should immediately hold oversight hearings into Exxon’s funding of climate skeptics and that committee leaders should use their subpoena power to shed light on the company’s tactics to “manufacture uncertainty” on climate change.

In addition, lawmakers should refuse to accept campaign contributions from the company, said the group, which is also pressing lawmakers to work aggressively on legislation that would require energy companies to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The pollutants are said to trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and lead to global warming.

Incoming leaders in the new Democratic-controlled Congress, which starts up Thursday, have already vowed to make climate change legislation a priority.

And the Union of Concerned Scientists is not alone in its criticism of Exxon.

U.S. Sens. John Rockefeller, D-W.V., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, sent a letter to Exxon in October, asking it to stop what they described as extensive funding of an “echo chamber” of non-peer reviewed pseudo-science.

In September, scientific academy the Royal Society – the U.K.’s independent scientific society – took a similar move, expressing disappointment that the company was promoting misleading statements about global warming.

By Maya Jackson Randall, Dow Jones Newswires

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