What I said about Exxon

morag I want to write about some new stuff, but in the course of it I need to rehearse what I’ve said about Exxon over the years. So I’ll do it here, for reference. Some of it is so far in the past it predates blogging.

sci.env: 1997

1997? Were there really such years?

Exxon Chairman puts Climate Change in Perspective. Me, responding to someone quoting “Exxon Chairman Calls Poverty Most Pressing Environmental Problem in Developing Countries”(mmm… a theme that never dies. Notice also cameo appearance from John McCarthy: It would take a lot to induce the chairman of Exxon to promote nuclear

>"Most of the greenhouse effect comes from natural sources, especially
>water vapor," Raymond said. "Less than a quarter is from carbon dioxide,
>and of this, only four percent of the carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere
>is due to human activities -- 96 percent comes from nature. Leaping to
>radically cut this tiny sliver of the greenhouse pie on the premise that
>it will affect climate defies common sense and lacks foundation in our
>current understanding of the climate system."

I confess, I didn't read most of the Exxon chairmans message. But if the rest of it
is as bad as this section, its not worth reading.

Yes, its *true* that most of the GH effect is from water vapour, but *no* its not
relevant - the water vapour in this sense passively responds to the CO2.

Yes, its *true* that only 4 percent of CO2 emmissions are from human activities, but
again, this is irrelevant - what matters is the balance between sources and sinks,
and humans are responsible for the majority of the imbalance.

We've had this before on sci.environment. Steve Hales should certainly know better
than to post rubbish like this. Raymond may not know better, but he should have
enough expensive advisors who should be able to tell him better. I can only conclude
that he (Raymond) is deliberately trying to mislead.

Well yes. Things were clearer in those days: Exxon really were naughty and Lee Raymond really was doing his best to mislead people, probably without actively lying.

sci.env: 2002

ExxonMobil deflects critics with $100m green donation. Me, originating something just for once: quoting from the Graun (credit to them for managing to keep a web page up and not-bit-rotted for more than 12 years):

Sadly not quite up to the headline: see:

from which I quote:

"ExxonMobil, the biggest publicly quoted oil group in the world,
yesterday wrongfooted green activists by announcing plans to invest
$100m (£63m) into a project organised by Stanford University to ta
ckle global warming... Exxon has joined up with General Electric
and Schlumberger to provide $225m funding over 10 years to lead a
search for solutions to global climate and energy needs."

LR said:

"We are convinced the global climate and energy project will make
significant academic and private-sector contributions to the development
of practical technologies to address the potential long-term risk
of climate change,"

but note the "potential long-term risk" qualifier.

sci.env: 2005

Debate Down Under. Me, responding to someone who had quoted from techcentralstation.com/041105F.html:

>Dr. Brian Flannery,
>ExxonMobil's chief environment and safety advisor observed in passing
>that there was little basis for probabilist numbers and observed that
>there was a great deal more we needed to know about the science. He
>cited several leading US institutions as sharing that view.

Err, that we won't bother to name, but which probably, like Exxon,
have a strong financial interest in producing CO2.

So, clearly little respect for them at that point.

Stoat, 2005: Exxonmobil title-tattle: http://www.europeanvoice.com

Exxonmobil title-tattle: www.europeanvoice.com. Me noting that Exxon are shifting towards doing their best to say nothing about global warming.

Stoat, 2006: Lee Raymond retires with stonking payoff

Lee Raymond retires with stonking payoff. Per title really. Nothing explicitly to do with GW.

Stoat, 2008: In defence of Exxon

In defence of Exxon. My first post with such a title I think. I’m defending them against suggestions that they should invest in renewable energy, on the grounds that they don’t know anything about it. Eli swiped me obliquely.

Is that it?

I think it might be. My memory, aka Google, says so. Feel free to point out more.

Ah, I also find Questions for Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson me commenting at mt’s. And a comment on ExxonMobil’s position on climate change continues to be misunderstood by some individuals and groups at Inel’s.

All in all, its pretty thin. Is it me, or is it Exxon?


* Lakes are warming at a surprisingly fast rate – VV


4 thoughts on “What I said about Exxon”

  1. Lee Raymond grew up in a town just down the road from where I grew up. I know one of his cousins. I believe his Dad was a railroad engineer. He’s a very bright guy. It was embarrassing to see him make the mistakes he did with respect to GW. The Sargasso Sea was one of his worst. I do think he came to realize the obvious.


  2. Why this obsession with Exxon? Do you realize what a small fraction of global gas/oil they are responsible for?

    [Don’t look at me; its not my obsession -W]


  3. Selerax:

    Yes, *that* John McCarthy.

    He and I had many back-and-forths years ago, mostly on conservation biology issues. Eventually he contacted me in private to tell me that his biologist daughter also told him that he was mostly full of it regarding such issues, told me he loved my photography which he’d discovered online and asked about buying prints.

    His best moments involved suggesting that the leadership of the Sierra Club be convicted of murder for opposing a new highway to replace 17 between Santa Cruz and San Jose (which had a high accident rate).


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