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Climate Change - The New Sacred Cow?

12 Feb 2007 (TODAY)

Environmental left-wing trying to quash debate on global warming

Mark Twain once complained that a lie can make it halfway around the world
before the truth gets its boots on.

That's been the case of late in the climate change debate, as political
and media activists attempt to stigmatise anyone who doesn't pay homage to
their "scientific consensus".

Last week, London's Guard-ian published a story, headlined "Scientists
Offer Cash to Dispute Climate Study".

The story alleges that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a
conservative-leaning think-tank in Washington, collected contributions
from ExxonMobil and then offered climate scholars US$10,000 ($15,300) so
they could lobby against global warming legislation.

Another British newspaper, the Independent, picked up on the story and
claimed: "It has come to light that one of the world's largest oil
companies, ExxonMobil, is attempting to bribe scientists to pick holes in
the IPCC's assessment." (The IPCC is the United Nations climate-change

It would be easy to dismiss all this as propaganda from British tabloids,
except that a few days ago the "news" crossed the Atlantic where more
respectable media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting
the story in what has become all too typical pack fashion.

Offered a CNNMoney.com report: "A think-tank partly funded by ExxonMobil
sent letters to scientists, offering them up to US$10,000 to critique
findings in a major global warming study released Friday which found
that global warming was real and likely caused by burning fossil fuels".

Here are the facts as we've been able to collect them.

AEI doesn't lobby, didn't offer money to scientists to question global
warming, and the money it did pay for climate research didn't come from

What AEI did was send a letter to several leading climate scientists
asking them to participate in a symposium that would present a "range of
policy prescriptions that should be considered for climate change of
uncertain dimension".

Some of the scholars asked to participate, including Mr Steve Schroeder of
Texas A& M, are climatologists who believe that global warming is a major

Said AEI President Chris DeMuth: "What The Guardian essentially
characterises as a bribe is the conventional practice of AEI - and
Brookings, Harvard and the University of Manchester - to pay individuals
(for commissioned work)."

He says that Exxon has contributed less than 1 per cent of AEI's budget
over the last decade.

As for Exxon, Ms Lauren Kerr, director of its Washington office, said that
"none of us here had ever heard of this AEI climate change project until
we read about it in the London newspapers".

By the way, commissioning such research is also standard practice at Nasa
and other government agencies and at liberal groups such as the Pew
Charitable Trusts, which have among them spent billions of dollars
attempting to link fossil fuels to global warming.

We don't know where the Brits first got this "news", but the leading
suspects are the reliable sources at Greenpeace.

They have been peddling these allegations for months, and the London
newspaper sleuths seem to have swallowed them like pints on a Fleet Street
lunch hour.

So, apparently, have several members of the United States Senate.

Senators Bernard Sanders, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein and John Kerry
sent a letter to Mr DeMuth complaining that "should these reports be
accurate", then "it would highlight the extent to which moneyed interests
distort honest scientific and public policy discussions ... Does your
donors' self-interest trump an honest discussion over the well-being of
the planet?"

Every member of AEI's board of directors was graciously copied on the
missive. We're told the Senators never bothered to contact AEI about the
veracity of the reports, and by repeating the distortions, these four
Democratic senators, wittingly or not, gave credence to falsehood.

For its part, Exxon appears unwilling to take this smear campaign lying

Bribery can be a crime, and falsely accusing someone of a crime may well
be defamation. A company spokesman says Exxon has written a letter to the
Independent demanding a retraction.

One can only conclude from this episode that the environmental left and
their political and media supporters now believe it is legitimate to quash
debate on climate change and its consequences.

This is known as orthodoxy and, until now, science accepted the legitimacy
of challenging it. - The Wall Street Journal