Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its Fourth Assessment Report. (The Summary for Policymakers is available here [.pdf].) It concludes that there is a 90 percent chance that atmospheric warming over the past fifty years has been caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports on one of the more interesting reactions to the new report:

Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

And then there's the survey, reported here, by the Union of Concerned Scientists indicating that many government scientists have been subjected to political pressure to avoid using the terms "climate change" or "global warming."

On top of it all, ExxonMobil has reported that its annual profit for 2006 was $39.5 billion--up 9 percent from its record-setting 2005 profit. The company's revenues for 2006 were greater than the gross domestic product of Israel, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, or Austria--not to mention about 170 other countries in the world.

By the way, Kevin Drum puts two and two together and suggests that the scientists being offered $10,000 apiece for anti-climate change commentary might want to hold out for more money.