Just came across this article over at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The UCS was an organisation that started off in the late 60’s comprised of students and faculty members at MIT. It’s since grown into an alliance of over 200,000 citizens and scientists, who are working towards a healthy environment and safer world.
I’ve been visiting their site from time to time my interest in it really began after 9/11 where scientists were discussing the plethora of security measures being proposed by governments as well the threats posed by different forms of terrorism. Their analysis was often more rationalised than the often hysterical or sensationalist reports that were fed through politicians and main stream media. However the topics they cover range from scientific integrity and ethics all the way through to specific scientific issues such as global warming or the debate on GM foods. If you have views on these issues, and others, then its definitely worth visting their site.
Anyway, this particular article relates to how ExxonMobil has not only adopted the same disinformation tactics used by the tobacco industry but also some of the same individuals and organisations, in an attempt to cloud the scientific understanding of global warming, delaying any action on the issue. They document how ExxonMobil has funneled almost $16 million to a network of 43 advocacy organisations to confuse the public on the issue of climate change.
The idealist in me hopes that the revelations in the report as well as the money trail it documents shows all the idiots who have blindly fallen for Exxon’s so called scientific arguments about how global warming isn’t happening, why and how they’ve all been played for chumps.
The cynic in me doubts that these revelations will change anything the reality is that its greed that drives politicians and big businesses to resort to these underhanded tricks because ultimately its their pockets that are being lined and for some reason they are either unable or unwilling to look beyond their quarterly profits and dividends.
I remember back when I was working at aQtive with Alan, on a hot summers day it started raining heavily, and the area around Edgbaston was flooded really badly. I commented on how freakish it was to have weather like that in the middle of summer, and I recall we had a short chat about global warming in which he stated the paradox around governments unwillingness to act on the issue was akin to watching some bloke saw through the tree limb he’s sitting on. I might be putting words in his mouth, but im pretty sure thats how he put it. It’s incomprehensible that governments are not doing more about the problem, or indeed as in the case of the US, wanting to completely ignore the issue. I often wonder if these politicians, particularly in the US, would be so closed minded on the issue if they weren’t so reliant on political contributions from the large oil companies.
Forgive my ignorance but can someone please explain to me what the difference is between a political contribution and a bribe?