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June 15, 2005

Oil rig

Even for an administration fueled by big oil, this (from the subscription-only Wall Street Journal) is pretty shameless:

Exxon Mobil Corp. said it has agreed to hire Philip Cooney, who resigned last week as chief of staff to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Mr. Cooney resigned after critics charged that he edited administration documents on global warming to downplay a scientific consensus that fossil-fuel emissions are contributing to the environmental problem and to highlight remaining uncertainties about that science.
... Exxon has long raised questions about the science behind concerns that fossil-fuel emissions are the main factor behind global warming. And Exxon has been a strong opponent of global-warming emissions caps, including the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty capping global-warming emissions. The U.S. has rejected the Kyoto treaty, but proposals to cap emissions are pending as Congress debates an energy bill.
Environmental groups have long criticized Exxon’s position on global warming, and said Exxon’s decision to hire Mr. Cooney indicates undue influence the company has over the Bush Administration.

No kidding. Bush’s coziness with Exxon Mobil and his decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol are not exactly unrelated, according to documents obtained by Britain’s Guardian newspaper:

President’s George Bush’s decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from Exxon Mobil, the world’s most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian.
The documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month’s G8 meeting, reinforce widely-held suspicions of how close the company is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy.
In briefing papers given before meetings to the US under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004, the administration is found thanking Exxon executives for the company’s “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, and also seeking its advice on what climate change policies the company might find acceptable.
… Until now Exxon has publicly maintained that it had no involvement in the US government’s rejection of Kyoto. But the documents, obtained by Greenpeace under US freedom of information legislation, suggest this is not the case.
“Potus [president of the United States] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you [the Global Climate Coalition],” says one briefing note before Ms Dobriansky’s meeting with the GCC, the main anti-Kyoto US industry group, which was dominated by Exxon.

When he testified before the U.K. House of Lords’ science and technology committee in 2003, Nick Thomas, Exxon’s regional head of public affairs, said: “I think we can say categorically we have not campaigned with the United States government or any other government to take any sort of position over Kyoto.”

It’s now clear why he kicked off that statement with “I think.”

Posted by Stephen at 12:34 AM in Business | Energy + environment | Politics | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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