This report might fit under the rubric of John Cleese’s famous rejoinder, “Well, aren’t you Master of the Bleeding Obvious?!” But we must remind ourselves that all is not as it may seem. A report by The Independent outlines many of the links between multi-national oil & fossil-fuel producers and think tanks who argue against global-warming or argue against the notion that human activity is causing it. As an example that Owen and Bignell cite, “ is a key player behind the scenes, having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years to climate change sceptics. The Atlas Foundation, created by the late Sir Anthony Fisher (founder of the Institute of Economic Affairs), received more than $100,000 in 2008 from ExxonMobil, according to the oil company’s reports.”in the British newspaper
Judging by the comments that follow the article, many Independent readers are rather accepting of the connection between the oil companies and those think-tanks that challenge issues of global warming. Indeed, what would one expect of any organization but that it would support its own raison d’etre?
Whether such oil-producers are offering real scientific data or merely spinning a select bit of PR-useful anecdotes has only grown more contentious in the last few months because of the scandal over whether scientists at the University of East Anglia doctored their own findings to stoke fears about global warming. The scandal of and suppressed findings in the UK has only motivated the in the US.
What might be the most frustrating thing about this debate, from a cultural point of view, is that the argument in Britain (and the rest of the world in general) takes place among scientists, who publish arguments likely biased, but nevertheless vetted by peers. Here, the debate is bandied about by TV personalities, politicos, and corporate entities who also publish arguments likely to be biased. But no committee outside the Exxon Mobile board reviews what their sponsored think tank has to say about the prospects or pace of global warming.