Monday, December 04, 2006

Senators get steamed up about Global Warming

Two US Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olivia Snowe sent a nastygram to ExxonMobil, claiming that Global Warming is a fact and ExxonMobil must cease supporting any scholarship that denies its self-evident truth. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:
Washington has no shortage of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else.

We reprint the full text of the letter here, so readers can see for themselves.But its essential point is that the two Senators believe global warming is a fact, and therefore all debate about the issue must stop and ExxonMobil should "end its dangerous support of the [global warming] 'deniers.' " Not only that, the company "should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history." And in extra penance for being "one of the world's largest carbon emitters," Exxon should spend that money on "global remediation efforts."

The Senators aren't dumb enough to risk an ethics inquiry by threatening specific consequences if Mr. Tillerson declines this offer he can't refuse. But in case the CEO doesn't understand his company's jeopardy, they add that "ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years." (Our emphasis.) The Senators also graciously copied the Exxon board on their missive.

This is amazing stuff. On the one hand, the Senators say that everyone agrees on the facts and consequences of climate change. But at the same time they are so afraid of debate that they want Exxon to stop financing a doughty band of dissenters who can barely get their name in the paper.
This is simply an amazing intimidation attempt against dissenters from the Global Warming party line, a party line based not on hard science and which is not in fact a foregone conclusion, nor indeed is it "an inconvenient truth".

Put me on the side of free scientific inquiry, not of kow-towing to intimidation or to a consensus that is formed more of politics than science.

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