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Climate change

American Enterprise Institute allegedly offers bribes to scientists for disputing UN climate change report

Thursday, February 15, 2007 by: Ben Kage
Tags: climate change, Exxon-Mobil, bribery

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(NewsTarget) According to the Guardian, the ExxonMobil-funded think tank known as the American Enterprise Institute sent letters to scientists and economists offering them $10,000 to undermine a major climate change report from the United Nations.

The fourth UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was released Feb. 2, and experts say it is the most complete report on climate change so far. However, before the report was released, the AEI sent letters to scientists in the United States, Britain and other countries that allegedly offered money, travel expenses and additional payments to scientists and economists if they would publish articles that underscore any shortcomings of the report.

In the letters, the AEI told scientists that the IPCC is "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work." Then the AEI requests the scientists write essays that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs."

Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at the AEI, admitted to sending the letters and confirmed their content. He also told The Guardian that the extreme claims being made on both sides of the debate were not conducive to making intelligent policy. However, critics of the AEI's actions claim that the motive behind the letters seems to be monetary. Former ExxonMobil head Lee Raymond is now the vice-chairman for AEI's board of trustees, more than $1.6 million in funds from the oil giant have been funneled into AEI, and more than 20 AEI staff members have acted as consultants for the Bush administration in the past.

"The AEI is more than just a think tank, it functions as the Bush administration's intellectual Cosa Nostra," said Greenpeace's Ben Stewart in an interview with The Guardian. "They are White House surrogates in the last throes of their campaign of climate change denial. They lost on the science; they lost on the moral case for action. All they've got left is a suitcase full of cash."

"Like many groups that pretend to speak with authority on issues of great importance, the American Enterprise Institute is on the take, having accepted over a million dollars from ExxonMobil and now blatantly offering apparent bribes to scientists who will attack a UN report on climate change," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and co-author of "The Real Safety Guide to Protecting Your Environment." "The AEI is, in my opinion, a front group for the extreme right-wing power brokers who promote big oil, big wars and big denials of climate change reality,"

The entirety of the report has not been released publicly by the IPCC, but the Bush administration posted a draft copy on its web site in April. Critics of the concept of global warming often claim that the planet has a long history of massive fluctuations in atmospheric gasses, and the current changes are just part of that cycle, but the report states that there is a 90 percent chance that the warming trend of the planet is being caused by human activity.

The IPPC's publicly released Summary for Policy Makers states that the recent concentrations of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are so dramatically different from the pre-industrial natural ranges determined by ice core samples from the last several thousand years.

Other conclusions from the report include:

-- The earth could experience a 3.6- to 8.1-degree-Fahrenheit jump in average temperatures if greenhouse gas levels reach double the concentrations of pre-industrial times.
-- Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750.
-- Even if humanity suddenly began a unified campaign to control pollution, the increase in temperatures and the rising sea level would continue unabated for centuries. There is a less than 5 percent probability that these changes are being brought on by natural climatic processes alone.
-- More heat waves and heavy rainfall are more than 90 percent certain to continue.
-- The is a more than 66 percent chance that droughts, tropical cyclones and high tides will increase in frequency.

The IPPC has come under criticism since it was formed in 1988, and has been accused of both favoring "green" interests by overstating the effects of climate change and favoring conservative views by understating those same effects. According to the IPPC web site, the report is the culmination of work from around 600 authors from 40 countries as well as hundreds of reviewers.


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