[This is a lazy, boilerplate response to the even lazier notion that Big Oil is behind climate skepticism. I’m sick of copying and pasting it for their edification. It’s a work in progress and some links are missing. —BK]
Dear Oil Linkers,
Your Logical Fallacy is: Boring Me.
I know you think you’re smearing skeptics, but it ain’t working.
Big Oil is Big Energy. The major players in fossil fuel are diversified enough to make money hand over fist whatever the protest du jour is.
Their interest in alarmist climate science is self-explanatory: public fear of global warming has created new markets for these corporations out of thin air while doing little or no damage to their traditional revenue streams. Congratulations, believers: you’ve just made the rich richer.
The non-rich, meanwhile, will always prefer reliables to renewables. The market for hydrocarbon-bond energy is essentially inelastic, while demand for the landscape-mutilating colossi of neo-Medieval venticulture is an artificial construct.
Muchos kudos, believers: you’ve just killed more bird life than DDT.
If the dangerous-AGW hypothesis is the main selling-point of the wind-farm industry, it’s the very raison d’etre of the energy-indulgences anti-industry: carbon credits, carbon capture, carbon sequestration, emissions trading.
ExxonMobil gave Stanford University a cool $100 million—much more than anyone’s ever spent on a skeptical research project—for its Global Climate and Energy Project, which develops “ways to meet growing energy needs without worsening global warming.” It endowed another $600 million for Biofuels Research.
But Exxon was late to the party—the other energy giants have been capitalizing on the climate movement from day one. We shouldn’t forget that the carbon-trading clause in Article 16 of the Kyoto Protocol was the creature of BP and Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room. BP and Enron were also the major lobbyists telling governments around the world (including Australia’s) to ratify it.
BP, or should I say Beyond Petroleum, stands squarely behind “mainstream” (alarmist) climate researchers. It funded research into “ways of tackling the world’s climate problem” at Princeton University to the tune of $2 million a year for 15 years. It funds an energy research institute involving two other US universities, to a total of $500 million, whose mission is “to develop new sources of energy and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment.”
The corporation was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, substantially funding the climate-related lobbying of its members, which include the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute.
BP even put on the champagne and canapés at the book launch for Rajendra Pachauri’s erotic novel.
Shell International has a huge Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] division. It also has billions of dollars riding on the carbon credit exchange, which at peak insanity was worth $130 billion per annum. You only need to imagine how much value it’d haemorrhage from that portfolio if the CCX tanked to know why Shell has never supported dangerous-AGW skepticism (except in Michael Mann’s mental cinema).
Thanks to a courageous cybercriminal, we know the University of East Anglia CRU and the Tyndall Centre came to be seen by British fossil-fuel giants as a business partner. Big Energy was worth a lot of funding to these alarmist ‘scientists,’ their alarmist ‘science’ was worth a lot of revenue to Big Energy, and both parties knew it.
The following emails come from a single year, the year 2000, which marked the start of a bidding war between Shell, Esso/Exxon-Mobil and BP for control of the ‘science.’
The scientist Mick Kelly writes to his colleagues Mike Hulme and Tim O’Riordan (Climategate file 0962818260.txt):
I’m talking to Shell International’s climate change team, but this approach will do equally for the new [Foundation], as it’s only one step or so off Shell’s equivalent of a board level. I do know a little about the Foundation and what kind of projects they are looking for. It could be relevant for the new building, incidentally, though opinions are mixed as to whether it’s within the remit.
Mike Hulme then discusses with O’Riordan the potential benefits for the Tyndall Centre:
Tim, I am meeting with Mick at 09:15 next Tuesday to talk about his links with Shell—and Tyndall dimension re. studentships, etc. Are you here and can you join us?
The courtship goes well. Later in the year Kelly sends out a progress report:
Mike and Tim
Notes from the meeting with Shell International attached…. What ensued was necessarily a rather speculative discussion with the following points emerging.
1. Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a ‘strategic partnership’ with the T[yndall] C[entre], broadly equivalent to a ‘flagship alliance’ in the TC proposal.
A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.
2. Shell’s interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to ‘real-world’ activities. They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM.
Next, “Esso”—which is UK English for “Exxon-Mobil”—also sees the investment opportunity. Mike Hulme writes (Climategate file 959187643.txt):
I would think Tyndall should have an open mind about this and try to find the slants that would appeal to Esso.
The Tyndall climatologists grow so accustomed to the attentions of the fossil-fuel giants that by year’s end they’re taking it for granted that Beyond Petroleum will be another suitor. The scientist Simon Shackley writes:
Subject: BP funding…
dear TC colleagues, it looks like BP have their cheque books out!
How can TC benefit from this largesse? I wonder who has received this money within Cambridge University? Cheers, Simon
BP, FORD GIVE $20 MILLION FOR PRINCETON UNIVERSITY EMISSIONS STUDY
This kind of collaboration isn’t just a British phenomenon. Here we can read (thanks to Freedom of Information laws) an interesting email from the University of Arizona climate scientist Dr Jonathan Overpeck.
“Peck” writes to an Exxon-Mobil executive:
In addition to seeing and catching up w/ you, I’m also quite intrigued by what Exxon-Mobil and the University of Arizona could do together on the climate change front. As you’ve probably figured out, we have one of the top universities in this area, and lots of capability, both in understanding climate change at the global scale down to the regional scale, but also in terms of understanding how climate variability and change impacts society…
Overpeck is no denier. He’s a believalist.
Why would these corporations barrack for skepticism? They haven’t lost a cent in the AGW panic and it’s unlikely they ever will.
(Do you seriously think anything is going to “emerge” the next time someone throws a Kyoto Protocol reunion at a luxury resort? You know perfectly well the most binding document it’ll “produce” is a large alcohol tab.)
If the devil’s best trick was to convince the world he doesn’t exist, then Big Oil’s best trick was to convince you it’s on the devil’s side. Wake up, angels. It’s on your side.