Monday, January 08, 2007

ExxonMobil's $16 millon FUD campaign

FUD is an old sales technique widely used in the telecommunications and other sales oriented industries. It stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt and it is what a salesperson plants in the minds of their prospects in relation to his or her competitor, while trying not to appear to denigrate the competition. That's regarded by good salespeople, and good clients, as tacky.

To prevent the public from understanding the full implications of fossil-fuel greenhouse emissions, ExxonMobil outsources their FUD campaign to a network of think-tanks and opinionmakers. The objective is to discredit the science of global warming. The Union of Concerned Scientist has a tally of how much they have spent over the last few years: :::[Forbes]

ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists asserted Wednesday.

The report by the science-based nonprofit advocacy group mirrors similar claims by Britain's leading scientific academy. Last September, The Royal Society wrote the oil company asking it to halt support for groups that "misrepresented the science of climate change."

ExxonMobil (nyse: XOM - news - people ) did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the scientific advocacy group's report.

What do you say?

ExxonMobil lists on its Web site nearly $133 million in 2005 contributions globally, including $6.8 million for "public information and policy research" distributed to more than 140 think-tanks, universities, foundations, associations and other groups. Some of those have publicly disputed the link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

But in September, the company said in response to the Royal Society that it funded groups which research "significant policy issues and promote informed discussion on issues of direct relevance to the company." It said the groups do not speak for the company.

Which is why these think-tank linked journalists and the like feel free to denigrate the 'competition', that being the scientific reality, aka the truth. It is also why I avoid their petrol stations, which include Caltex and Mobil franchises in Australia.

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