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US: Green group attacks oil giant on climate research

by Alison BenjaminGuardian Unlimited
September 26th, 2007

An environmental group today took aim at ExxonMobil with the launch of an
online video attacking the oil giant's green credentials.

The Exxon Files, from Friends of the Earth Europe, sets out claims that
the US-based corporation funds climate change deniers in Europe and the
US.

The animated video, which spoofs the X-Files TV series, features two
fictional agents - Deny Fully and Rexx Tiller, of the Federal Bureau of
Inconvenience - who are hired by ExxonMobil to hide the truth about the
negative environmental impact of its business.

To achieve this they secretly fund scientists, thinktanks and lobbyists
sceptical about climate change.

Christine Phol, a campaigner for FoE Europe, said: "ExxonMobil invests
millions of euros funding thinktanks and lobbyists committed to blocking
internationally agreed policies to combat climate change whilst at the
same time spending major sums on advertising designed to present itself as
an environmentally responsible company."

The group wants viewers of the video to register their support online for
a planned complaint to Belgian authorities over Exxon adverts at Brussels
airport.

In the ads, Exxon claims to be reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. But
FoE Europe said data from the company's corporate citizenship report
showed Exxon's CO2 emissions increased by 8.7m metric tons from 2003 and
2006.

Paul de Clerck, another FoE Europe campaigner, said the adverts were one
example of ExxonMobil's "deliberately misleading advertising campaign".

"The 'greening' of oil giant Exxon is nothing more than a slick public
relations exercise," he said. "Instead of spending millions of
manipulating the facts, they should make real efforts to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions."

An ExxonMobil spokesman rejected the criticism. He said: "The recycling of
this type of discredited conspiracy theory only diverts attention from the
real challenge at hand: how to provide the energy needed to sustain and
improve global living standards while also reducing greenhouse gas
emissions."

He said ExxonMobil was taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
and was also "supporting research into technology breakthroughs and
participating in constructive dialogue on policy options".

Citing examples, he said the company was working with car manufacturers on
programmes that could lead to fuel economy improvements, and partnering
with the European Commission to study carbon capture and storage
technologies.

ExxonMobil has been criticised in the past for backing organisations that
are sceptical about climate change. Last year the Royal Society called on
Esso, the UK arm of ExxonMobil, to withdraw support for dozens of groups
that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial
of the evidence".




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