US: Green group attacks oil giant on climate research

Publisher Name: 
Guardian Unlimited

An environmental group today took aim at ExxonMobil with the launch of an


online video attacking the oil giant's green credentials.



The Exxon Files, from Friends of the Earth Europe, sets out claims that


the US-based corporation funds climate change deniers in Europe and the


US.



The animated video, which spoofs the X-Files TV series, features two


fictional agents - Deny Fully and Rexx Tiller, of the Federal Bureau of


Inconvenience - who are hired by ExxonMobil to hide the truth about the


negative environmental impact of its business.



To achieve this they secretly fund scientists, thinktanks and lobbyists


sceptical about climate change.



Christine Phol, a campaigner for FoE Europe, said: "ExxonMobil invests


millions of euros funding thinktanks and lobbyists committed to blocking


internationally agreed policies to combat climate change whilst at the


same time spending major sums on advertising designed to present itself as


an environmentally responsible company."



The group wants viewers of the video to register their support online for


a planned complaint to Belgian authorities over Exxon adverts at Brussels


airport.



In the ads, Exxon claims to be reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. But


FoE Europe said data from the company's corporate citizenship report


showed Exxon's CO2 emissions increased by 8.7m metric tons from 2003 and


2006.



Paul de Clerck, another FoE Europe campaigner, said the adverts were one


example of ExxonMobil's "deliberately misleading advertising campaign".



"The 'greening' of oil giant Exxon is nothing more than a slick public


relations exercise," he said. "Instead of spending millions of


manipulating the facts, they should make real efforts to reduce greenhouse


gas emissions."



An ExxonMobil spokesman rejected the criticism. He said: "The recycling of


this type of discredited conspiracy theory only diverts attention from the


real challenge at hand: how to provide the energy needed to sustain and


improve global living standards while also reducing greenhouse gas


emissions."



He said ExxonMobil was taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,


and was also "supporting research into technology breakthroughs and


participating in constructive dialogue on policy options".



Citing examples, he said the company was working with car manufacturers on


programmes that could lead to fuel economy improvements, and partnering


with the European Commission to study carbon capture and storage


technologies.



ExxonMobil has been criticised in the past for backing organisations that


are sceptical about climate change. Last year the Royal Society called on


Esso, the UK arm of ExxonMobil, to withdraw support for dozens of groups


that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial


of the evidence".


AMP Section Name:Environment
  • 107 Energy