ExxonMobil ‘Linked to 9 of Top 10 Climate Skeptics’

by | May 9, 2011

ExxonMobil is connected to nine of the top ten authors of climate change denial papers, according to a “fact-check” website.

Analysis by The Carbon Brief found that the ten authors are responsible for 186 of the over 900 peer-reviewed papers skeptical of man-made global warming. The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate skeptic group, compiled the list of 900 papers that “promote skepticism of [anthropogenic global warming] or AGW alarm defined as, ‘concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic.’”

The Carbon Brief is headed by Tom Brookes, director of the Energy Strategy Centre, which is funded by the non-profit European Climate Foundation.

The most prolific climate-skeptic author on the list was Sherwood B. Idso, president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a think-tank which the Carbon Brief said has been funded by ExxonMobil. Idso authored or co-authored 67 of the 938 papers analyzed, or seven percent of the total.

The second most cited is Patrick J. Michaels, with 28 papers. Michaels has said that he receives about 40% of his funding from the oil industry.

Researchers Willie Soon and John R. Christy are both affiliated with the George C. Marshall Institute, which receives Exxon funds, the website found. Another author, Ross McKitrick, is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, which also benefits from Exxon funding, the Carbon Brief said.

Eight of the ten have direct links to ExxonMobil, the analysis found, while a ninth researcher, Bruce Kimball, is linked to the oil giant because all of his papers were co-authored with Sherwood Idso.

Many of the other names on the list are linked to think-tanks that receive money from the oil industry, the website says.

The Carbon Brief says its analysis is significant because it shows that climate skeptics constitute a small network of individuals, disputing skeptics’ assertion that there is significant scientific disagreement over the causes of climate change.

In a statement to Environmental Leader, ExxonMobil responded: “The post conveniently ignores the hundreds of millions of dollars we are investing in new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage the risk of climate change.

“We’ve committed $100 million to the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University.  We’ve invested $100 million in a new technology to help remove carbon dioxide from produced natural gas streams. We’ve committed $600 million in algae biofuels that could one day help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And, since 2005, we’ve spent more than $1.3 billion in activities to increase efficiency and reduce emissions.

“The list of groups we fund can be found on our website. Also, more information on our position on climate change and steps we are taking to reduce emissions can be found here.”

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