A lot of alarmist voices are charging Exxon with all kinds of misdoings with respect to climate science. The usual suspects are implicated, including Bill McKibben, Naomi Oreskes and Bob Ward.
InsideClimateNews broke the story, with the others piling on. Exxon is fighting back and tell their story here: http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2015/10/21/when-it-comes-to-climate-change-read-the-documents/
The documents referred to are here.
“Reading the documents shows that these allegations are based on deliberately cherry-picked statements attributed to various ExxonMobil employees to wrongly suggest definitive conclusions were reached decades ago by company researchers. These statements were taken completely out of context and ignored other readily available statements demonstrating that our researchers recognized the developing nature of climate science at the time which, in fact, mirrored global understanding.
What these documents actually demonstrate is a robust culture of scientific discourse on the causes and risks of climate change that took place at ExxonMobil in the 1970s and ’80s and continues today. They point to corporate efforts to fill the substantial gaps in knowledge that existed during the earliest years of climate change research.
They also help explain why ExxonMobil would work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and leading universities like MIT and Stanford on ways to expand climate science knowledge.”
The Royal Society
The list of documents includes an interchange with the Royal Society, and their spokesman, Bob Ward. He criticizes Exxon’s publications for not saying the same things as IPCC documents. He accuses Exxon of funding “organizations that have been misinforming the public about the science of climate change.” That sounds so much like the RICO20 letter.
Kenneth Cohen of ExxonMobil responded in a letter to Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society at that time:
“The Royal Society should welcome the diversity of opinions on all scientific issues. Taking the position that any person or organization that disagrees with the Royal Society on an important scientific issue should be publicly vilified is surely counterproductive for the development of scientific theory, ignores freedom of expression and is hardly consistent with the Society’s stated objective of promoting excellence in science.”
Cohen’s full letter is here:
Exxon says that they are part of the solution and not the problem, and are asking people to read the documents and decide for themselves. Sounds reasonable.
Background on RICO and IPCC:
EXXON, as many others, deserve no regret when „charged with all kinds of misdoing with respect to climate science“. EXXON’s fault is not strongly opposing a meaningless language with regard what ‘climate’ is. Instead accepting that
__” Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years.” (IPCC, AR5, 2013, Glossary, p. 1450) How can science work with such nonsense? Worst: how can sciences communicate with the general public, politics, and skeptics with this terminology?
“Clear and unambiguous definitions of all terms used are a prerequisite for any meaningful communication, and for sound scientific work.” http://www.whatisclimate.com/ How to handle “relevant qualities …from months to millions of years”.
Due to lack of any reasonable WMO/IPCC definition of ‘weather’ or “relevant quantities” the matter is even more mind-blowing. The very comprehensive Glossary of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), distinguishes concerning “weather”:
____The “present weather” table consists of 100 possible conditions,
____with 10 possibilities for “past weather”, while
____Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility, and wind.
Even if the AMS-Glossary is silent on “future weather”, the nonsense gets a face. If the “weather” consists of 100 possible conditions, how can “past weather” consist only of 10 conditions? Who is making the selection? Who decides over the period of time, whether data are used over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years? What are the “10 possibilities for past weather”? Which mix of data represents the past weather or the future weather? [ http://www.whatisclimate.com/b206_need_to_talk_July_2010.html ]
It should not be such a surprise that discussing ‘climate’ has been so unproductive over the last 30 years. EXXON is acting globally, has top lawyers, scientists, engineers and enough money to require and support a clear and indubitable terminology in an area of paramount importance. EXXON does not deserve regret.
Best regards Arnd
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Thanks for commenting, and as usual provoking further reflection. I have responded to you in a new post: