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ExxonMobil Is Still Bankrolling Climate Science Deniers

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21.10.2019

ExxonMobil says it believes “the risk of climate change is real,” and it is “committed to being part of the solution.” The largest investor-owned oil company in the world also says it supports a federal carbon tax and the Paris climate agreement.

Then why, after all these years, is the company still financing advocacy groups, think tanks, and business associations that reject the reality and seriousness of the climate crisis, as well as members of Congress who deny the science and oppose efforts to rein in carbon emissions?

According to the company’s latest grantmaking report, it gave $757,500 to nine such groups in 2018, which does not include its annual dues to trade groups such as the American Petroleum Institute, which opposes a carbon tax. In addition, ExxonMobil continued to promote gridlock directly on Capitol Hill. Two-thirds of the $1.65 million it spent on congressional election campaigns during the 2017-18 election cycle went to climate science deniers.

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Nearly half of ExxonMobil’s 2018 donations to nonprofit denier groups went to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Another third went to the American Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute, which have been ExxonMobil grantees for 20 years. All told, the company has spent some $37 million since 1998 on a network of denier organizations — a sorry record of support that ranks second only to Charles Koch and his brother, the late David Koch, owners of the coal, oil and gas conglomerate Koch Industries.

The shred of good news here is that ExxonMobil’s 2018 denier grant budget was half of what it spent in 2017 and the lowest amount since 2012. But if the company were truly serious about addressing climate change, it would cut off such funding completely. Likewise, it would support federal lawmakers who want to curb carbon emissions, not those standing in the way of government action.

So what did ExxonMobil get for its money in 2018?

In 2014, ExxonMobil pledged $5 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Capital Campaign over a five-year period on top of its annual dues, despite the lobby group’s history of misrepresenting climate science and the economics of transitioning to clean energy. Last year, the company kicked in $350,000 for the Capital Campaign and another $15,000 for the Chamber’s Corporate Citizenship Center, bringing its total 2018 donation to $365,000.

Two years ago, the Chamber sponsored a widely debunked report that wildly inflated the cost of adhering to the Paris climate agreement to the U.S. economy. President Trump used that report as his primary rationale for refusing to honor the U.S. commitment to the accord.

Earlier this year, however, the Chamber posted a new statement on its website that suggested that the business lobby is softening its position. “We stand with every American seeking a cleaner, stronger environment — for today and tomorrow,” the Chamber now asserts. “Our climate is........

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