Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tobacco Like Hoax

In my last post, I opened up the can of worms about the global warming debate (yes contrary to what you heard there is still a debate). Therefore, I will go on this tangent a while and give the Federal government a break for a while. Rest easy, I will hammer them if anything important arises. In the meantime, this subject will go nicely with Christmas.

I came across this article which talked about the money ExxonMobil paid to fund research to study Global Cooling. The idea is that there is a tobacco-like campaign of disinformation put forth by the oil companies to discredit the science showing the merits of man-made global warming. Simply, the accusation is that ExxonMobil is paying for it's "scientists" to research a predetermined conclusion. The tobacco companies pulled this stunt for decades with false reports of "scientific study" which proved that smoking was not bad for your health. Of course, this is untrue.

So, according to the accusations, the oil companies are pulling the same stunt. Or are they? On the surface this argument makes sense. However, further insight reveals that perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye.

Here is an article with a link to the report:

http://ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

This is the part of that article that struck me as odd.

"According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science."

Does this make sense to anyone else? According to the accusations, the revelation of man-made global warming as a result of emissions of carbon dioxide is attacking the lifeline of the oil companies. With this knowledge, legislature needs to follow which will create more friendly alternatives to the planet. This means that these companies are literally fighting for their survival.

This is where the argument goes awry: don't you think that if a company was faced with it's extinction, it would throw all resources at it. I mean, wouldn't you commit all your earnings for a year to save the company and ensure future operations? Most would do that. However, ExxonMobil committed $16 million over 8 years (an average of $2 million a year). This sounds like a lot until you consider their profit last quarter was over $10 billion. Not exactly the type of numbers you would expect for a company facing its demise.

Now that we know what this oil company spent, I wanted to learn what the global warming proponents got. It seems that the US government's annual budget for global warming research is $45 billion. That is a large difference when compared to the money spent by ExxonMobil. Seems to me that a lot more people are supported by the presence of global warming than the other side. Maybe it pays better to go along with this idea.

What is interesting is that I write this while the Northeast is getting hammered with a tremendous snow storm. We saw snow in Malibu and Las Vegas yesterday. Research showed that 2007 was the coldest in the last 120 years and this year might surpass it. The article I just referenced was written in January 2007. It appears that Dr. McCarthy was right that the facts would prevail. Two years later, warming is not on everyone's mind. And, ExxonMobil is not in the fight for their lives based upon the research money they spent.

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1 comment:

Mike the Unsung Hero said...

There are a couple of assumptions that you are making in error. First, if the oil companies gave even $100 million, let alone $1 billion to researching global cooling, there would be a prevalent cultural meme that the global cooling researchers are paid schills. Second, there may not be that many scientists with good proposals to patronize with oil money. The vast majority of scientists are persuaded by global warming, and want to pursue research proving these links. Thirdly, there would probably be a shakeup among the boards of directors, shareholders, investment ratings firms, etc., if oil companies were discovered to have put even a little as %10 of their total profits into this research instead of infrastucture, dividends, discovery of new deposits, etc. Finally, I think that $16 million probably bought most of the global-warming-is-a-hoax sentiment that $116 million could have, since the traction is in the amount of press coverage these Big-oil scientists get. While they are a tiny minority of the scientific community, they get a lot of air time. In fact, one should consider the amount of media buys that oil companies make on news-related network and cable TV as a much more powerful use of money to spread doubt on global warming than the money spent on research...it is always nice to get a news outlet feeling like they need to provide equal coverage to the point of view their sponsor favors.