CSW letter to the Wall Street Journal

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On December 13 the Wall Street Journal printed our letter critical of their December 4 editorial, “Global Warming Gag Order.” We said: “Your attack on Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller for their letter calling on ExxonMobil to stop supporting groups that obfuscate climate change science is misconceived on some essential points….The senators are not alone in believing it is time for ExxonMobil to stop warring against the leading climate scientists….” The Competitive Enterprise Institute didn’t like our letter. 

[CSW returns to Web site action after a break to concentrate on a few other matters, including preparation of a document in support of upcoming litigation relating to climate change, the Bush administration, and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. More on that to come, but we have some catching up to do here on some recent items.]

Text of the letter:

Your attack on Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller for their letter calling on ExxonMobil to stop supporting groups that obfuscate climate change science is misconceived on some essential points. It is not “bullying,” “over-the-top” or “intimidating” to call attention to how this enormously powerful company has, over the past eight years, spent millions of dollars to fund dozens of organizations in order to carry out a disinformation campaign on the global warming problem. The actions of Exxon Mobil in this regard can reasonably be seen as an insult to the climate science community, which has been making a heroic effort to communicate the nature of the problem in the face of extraordinary impediments thrown up by industry-funded operatives. A White House official who formerly was an oil industry lobbyist edited climate science program reports to play down global warming. After being exposed, he left his position and was promptly hired to work for Exxon Mobil.

The senators are not alone in believing it is time for ExxonMobil to stop warring against the leading climate scientists. Instead, it should be acknowledging the conclusions of the leading scientific assessments and helping to lead the way in translating this understanding into a societal response strategy. As yet we have not seen this. But perhaps CEO Rex Tillerson, in a recent speech to the Chief Executives Club of Boston, signaled a shift when he said of climate change: “The potential risks to society could prove to be significant. . . . We should take steps now to reduce emissions in effective and meaningful ways.” We shall see what, if anything, follows from this. But did Mr. Tillerson say that because he feels intimidated and bullied by Olympia Snowe? I hardly think so.

Rick Piltz
Director
Climate Science Watch
Washington

The December 4 editorial to which we were responding.

Two related entries we posted earlier:

ExxonMobil CEO says global warming poses significant potential risks, emissions reductions needed (December 8)

Senators Snowe and Rockefeller to ExxonMobil: Stop funding denialists (October 31)

Our letter drew an objection from the Competitive Enterprise Institute blog:

OpenMarket.org
The Competitive Enterprise Institute Blog
December 13, 2006
Yet Another Round of Rockefeller-Snowe Objection

Todays Wall Street Journal features several letters to the editor (subscription required) on the paperҒs editorial on the Rockefeller-Snowe letter to ExxonMobil. Naturally, it is to be expected that at least somebody would write taking exception to the editorial, but the letter by Rick Piltz of Climate Science Watch has got to be read to be believed because it misses the central point so widely off the mark….

We’re told that ExxonMobil cut CEI off the payroll this year, after giving them $2 million since 1998 to wage the global warming disinformation campaign. If so, would this be because our biggest corporation was intimidated and bullied into it? We don’t think so. 

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