Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Europeans have moved beyond consensus, regarding anthropogenic global warming as established fact:
When EU environment ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday (20 February), the fight was over how tough future CO2 cuts should be. No one publicly doubted if CO2 causes global warming - at European government level, the debate has moved on.
There is a problem, however: unscrupulous corporations (in many cases U.S.-based multinationals) are funding a rearguard action:
In a February paper circulated by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, economist Zilvinas Silenas attacks the IPCC report on the grounds that it uses language such as "likely" or "more likely than not" in presenting its conclusions.

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) says it is an "independent" think-tank. But a quick glance at its major donors shows that firms such as Mazeikiu Nafta - one of eastern Europe's biggest petrol companies - and cigarette maker Philip Morris stand behind the institute.
A quick glance at the donor list also reveals a wide range of non-energy, non-tobacco corporate members: Microsoft, ABB, Siemens and AstraZeneca, as examples. The recent nefarious activities of Exxon Mobil don't escape mention (via George Monbiot), even though its not an LFMI member:
In January, the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists published a study saying Exxon Mobil has channelled $16 million to 43 advocacy organisations between 1998 and 2005 in order to "manufacture uncertainty about the human causes of global warming."
The way I figure it, during that period Exxon made profits well in excess of $100 billion. An expenditure of $16 million dollars on advocacy amounts to less than .016% of profits. To further put this in perspective, Exxon Mobil's FY2005 sales were $370,680 million.

Looked at another way, over eight years Exxon Mobile spent an average of $46, 511.63 per advocacy group per year. That sort of money diluted over than many advocacy groups isn't going to buy much in the way of effective action.

Europeans are worried nonetheless:
"I think the science world has done its very best to document global warming and communicate the issue, but we are up against financially far more powerful interest groups using professional PR tactics," Stefan Rahmstorf, ocean physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told EUobserver.
Say what? Governments are spending billions of dollars a year on climate change research with pretty much the whole of Europe, academia, the left and MSM firmly on the bandwagon and the worry is that corporate-funded special interest groups are somehow going to derail the global warming juggernaut. Right.
Update: Scientific boat-rockers are much more of a threat to climate change "fact" than are all of the special interests combined:
Scientists believe dust from Australia's drought stricken regions may help to slow climate change.

They have been taking samples from the Southern Ocean which suggest iron-rich sediment is carried down by the East Australian current.

They say iron is a vital nutrient which helps microscopic marine plants grow and, in turn, absorb greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Dr Andrew Bowie from the Antarctic Climate Cooperative Research Centre says if there was more iron in the ocean it could carry more carbon.
Quick, update and recalibrate the models.


Anonymous merjoem32 said...

interesting info. I am willing to support an advocacy campaign that is in support of global warming but I think that the issue has been muddied. Politics has taken our attention off the real issue. The issue is not whether global warming is real or not. Conserving our planet is more important than debating about the genuineness of global warming.

2:54 AM  

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