Wednesday :: Jun 8, 2005

Surprise: ExxonMobil Has More Sway With Bush on Global Warming Than Tony Blair

by Steve

Given that it took nearly two years for the New York Times to report that a former oil industry lobbyist working for the White House had doctored administration global warming reports to delete scientific information and had encouraged right wing think tanks to take down Christine Todd Whitman, how long do you think it will be before the Times or the Post report on this?

President George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, 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.
The papers further state that the White House considered Exxon "among the companies most actively and prominently opposed to binding approaches [like Kyoto] to cut greenhouse gas emissions".
But in evidence to the UK House of Lords science and technology committee in 2003, Exxon's head of public affairs, Nick Thomas, 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."
In other meetings documented in the papers, Ms Dobriansky meets Don Pearlman, an international anti-Kyoto lobbyist who has been a paid adviser to the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments, both of which have followed the US line against Kyoto.
The purpose of the meeting with Mr. Pearlman, who also represents the secretive anti-Kyoto Climate Council, which the administration says "works against most US government efforts to address climate change", is said to be to "solicit [his] views as part of our dialogue with friends and allies".
ExxonMobil, which was yesterday contacted by the Guardian in the US but did not return calls, is spending millions of pounds on an advertising campaign aimed at influencing politicians, opinion formers and business leaders in the UK and other pro-Kyoto countries in the weeks before the G8 meeting at Gleneagles.

In fact, one can wonder now how long the special relationship between Tony the Poodle and Bush will continue, given the snub Blair got yesterday on his two major concerns of global warming and African aid. Even the Heritage Foundation notes that both Blair and his heir-apparent Gordon Brown will be more forceful with Bush on both Africa and global warming. Reports like the Guardian story about Exxon’s influence while the world lost four years not addressing global warming will only make things more difficult for Bush, regardless of whether or not the Times or Post cover the story anytime soon.

Steve :: 11:53 AM :: Comments (9) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!