Exxon: We believe in global warming, so we shouldn’t be criticised for funding global warming denialists

As everyone knows (or ought to know by now), one of main reason controversy over climate change is continuing in the face of overwhelming evidence is the fact that ExxonMobil has the cash spigot open to fund anyone willing to deny the evidence – the Competitive Enterprise Insitute, George Marshall Institute and the old tobacco industry network run by Steven Milloy, Fred Seitz and Fred Singer have been among the main beneficiaries. The Royal Society wrote to them recently, asking them to turn off the money tap.

Exxon’s response

The Royal Society’s letter and public statements to the media inaccurately and unfairly described our company.”

It went on: “We know that carbon emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change – we don’t debate or dispute this.”

So, they know the groups they are funding are lying, but they need to promote the idea that there is so much uncertainty that we should do nothing. The best way to do this is to create as much Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt as possible.

76 thoughts on “Exxon: We believe in global warming, so we shouldn’t be criticised for funding global warming denialists

  1. Before commenting on the content of McIntyre, I’ll say that I think it’s amazing that he was carefully reading Wahl and Ammann for that comment more than a year after he sent in his review of the paper to the journal concerned. Doesn’t say too much for how carefully he read the paper when he reviewed it.

    Anyway, regarding his comment, McIntyre comes perilously close to understanding Wahl and Ammann’s point about Bristlecone proxies but then suddenly recalls that the NAS panel said that Bristlecone proxies ‘should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions’. Phew, that was a close one for McIntyre. Thank heaven for the NAS panel. Makes careful thinking unnecessary. The point is, McIntyre is clinging desperately to the notion that it’s impossible to make a valid Temperature reconstruction that depends on Bristlecone proxies and he’ll latch on to anything, such as the NAS panel statement, that provides any sort of support for his belief. His belief is based on the well-known fact that the Bristlecone proxies have a growth bias caused by increasing CO2 levels since 1850. But there’s no law of Physics that says it’s impossible to use these proxies, biased as they are in nature, to determine a valid Temperature reconstruction. There are obvious ways to avoid the problem such as only calibrating the proxy before 1850 or determining the degree of bias by comparing with other proxies since 1850 and removing the bias. The latter is done in MBH99. The proof that this works is the consistency of reconstructions obtainable during the time that there are plenty of proxies to choose from (as I have already pointed to in this paper. This issue has been dealt with but all McIntyre can do is dismiss it out of hand. So in spite of McIntyre’s wishy washy objections, valid Temperature reconstructions can be made using Bristlecone proxies. Wahl and Ammann’s paper is simply another example of proof that Bristlecone proxies can be used to produce valid reconstructions, in their case they have the ability to prove, based on checking against independent proxies, that a Bristlecone proxy-dependent reconstruction is valid from 1900 back to 1450. If such a proxy is valid all the way back to 1450 there is no objective reason why it should suddenly become invalid before that. McIntyre just doesn’t get the logic but I’d agree that Wahl and Ammann don’t put it very well.

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