The Wall Street Journal and Climate Change Denial

A January 27 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal contains the usual drivel about climate change denial. Signed by 16 scientists, the op-ed piece claims that the number of “scientific heretics” continues to grow every year. A cursory glance at the exact field of the 16 scientists is very telling. Only a couple of signatories are actually climate scientists, and the rest are not. At least one is an economist. As a rebuttal to the piece points out: “While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science.” Signed by 38 scientists, the rebuttal also points out that the few with climate science expertise “are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert.”

As you are probably well aware, the Wall Street Journal is owned by none other than Mr. Climate Change Denier, Rupert Murdoch. An article in the Guardian points out that the Wall Street Journal would not publish a letter from 255 scientists from the National Academy of Sciences “that supported the mainstream view on climate change.” The article also points out that the refusal to publish the letter “was seen by some as further evidence that Rupert Murdoch is using his news organizations, such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, to further his own anti-regulatory agenda.”

The ties to Exxon

Some of the 16 signatories have ties to the oil industry, and specifically, to ExxonMobil. Roger Cohen is one signatory who worked directly for Exxon. Using the Desmogblog.com database on climate change deniers, I found that Cohen worked as the Manager of Strategic Planning and Programs at Exxon. According to Desmogblog, Cohen “became involved in studying global warming when Exxon realized that its ‘business environment’ could be affected.”

Another signatory to the op-ed piece with ties to Exxon is Richard Lindzen. Desmogblog mentions a 1995 article by Ross Gelbspan which notes that Lindzen charged oil and coal organizations $2,500 a day for his consulting services. I could not find anything that said Lindzen did consulting work for Exxon. However, in 2007 Lindzen described Exxon as the “only principled oil and gas company I know in the U.S.”

James McGrath is another signatory with ties to Exxon. The chemist’s past research has been funded by oil and chemical companies including Exxon, according to Desmogblog. Exxon gave McGrath $104,470 in funding for past research programs.

Clearly there is a link – make it a big tie – between climate change denial and the big carbon polluters like Exxon. Ironically, even Exxon now acknowledges climate change, and its website highlights what the company is doing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.