AGU decides to ignore calls for severing ties with ExxonMobil

AGU_Thanks_sponsors
Exxon has been a sponsor of AGU for years, as this screencap shows

From the “strange bedfellows” and the “AGU 2016 Fall meeting is in oil-rich Louisiana” department  comes this statement from the American Geophysical Union about calls to sever ties. There is one line that is bolded, which is my emphasis.

Dear AGU member,

As you may have seen in recent news articles, this morning, a letter signed by 100 scientists, both members and non-members, was delivered to AGU. The letter calls on AGU to sever ties with ExxonMobil. First and foremost, we welcome these questions and requests from our members and others in the scientific community and look forward to engaging with them on these issues. AGU is an organization that strives to make well considered decisions based on facts and data, and we encourage the open exchange of ideas and views on important issues such as this one. The AGU Board of Directors will take up the questions raised in this letter at their upcoming meeting in April, and prior to that will carefully review the information that has been provided, and any additional information that becomes available in the meantime.

We will consult with our various member constituencies as well other stakeholders prior to the Board meeting. In addition, the Board will look more deeply into the question of what constitutes verifiable information about current activities. In the meantime, we welcome your comments, which can be sent directly to me at President@agu.org.

In the summer of 2015, AGU released its new organizational support policy. This policy was designed to help ensure that AGU’s relationships with the corporate sector are in keeping with our values of unselfish collaboration in research and the highest standards of scientific integrity. One of the core principles of that policy is that it mandates that any potential partner not be engaged in the public promotion of misinformation about science. Prior to approving a new partner, AGU checks publicly available sources of information, such as websites and corporate media releases and public statements, to assess whether our partner/sponsor statements are in conflict with our position statements and accepted scientific consensus.

Since the policy’s approval, we have received inquiries about AGU’s relationship with our partners, in particular, the one we have with ExxonMobil. The concerns brought to us stem from reports about ExxonMobil’s past actions that have appeared in the press and elsewhere, and the assertion that the company is today engaging in the promotion of misinformation about climate change, climate science and the role of human activity in climate change, or actively supporting organizations that do.

One of these inquiries came in the form of a letter from a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists AGU received last year. Because we take such concerns seriously, the Board conducted its own research and discussed the issue at great length during the September 2015 meeting. At that time, we decided that ExxonMobil’s current public statements and activities were not inconsistent with AGU’s positions and the scientific consensus.

It cannot be said that Exxon’s past positions and actions regarding climate change were in keeping with our policy or with the company’s current public positions, and we will be monitoring the results of the investigations by the Attorneys General of New York and California into those past actions. Yet our research did not find any information that demonstrates that they are currently involved in such activities.

We recognize that companies can, and often do, modify their positions and actions on various issues over time. This can come about for a variety of reasons, and is something that should be encouraged. But, if a company is excluded from the community based on its past actions, in spite of corrections or improvements that have been made over time, what are the implications? Does the rejection – or the inclusion – of such a company in our scientific community best serve the continuation of the progress we seek? We believe that inclusion is the best option.

As the leaders of AGU, we welcome questions and requests from our members and others in the scientific community, and we assure you that if verifiable information becomes available that proves ExxonMobil is currently engaging in the promotion of misinformation about science or adopting positions that are in conflict with AGU’s own, or supporting groups that do, we will end the relationship, as dictated by our policy – at least until the company is able to demonstrate that such actions have ceased. We encourage our members to share with us any information about current activities that may contradict ExxonMobil’s public statements about their position and actions.

Sincerely,

Margaret Leinen


Source: https://www.magnetmail.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?recipient_id=1021848475&message_id=12189385&user_id=AGU_&group_id=1048659&jobid=32458741

h/t to Leif Svalgaard
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LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 12:09 pm

Can anyone explain the Machiavellian logic behind Big Oil promoting climate alarmism? The best I can figure is that they would rather shut down exploration through public pressure, thus increasing the relative value of existing resources. At the same time, they want to be in position to take advantage of alternative energy markets, should they ever achieve cost parity with petroleum.
Or maybe we’ve just gone through the looking glass…

Russell
Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 12:17 pm

Follow the money :ERP Compliant is run by Tom Clarke, a Virginia hospital executive and climate change activist. In addition to bidding on U.S. Steel Canada’s operations, Clarke has been scooping up mines from bankrupt coal producers Patriot Coal Corp. and Walter Energy Inc., betting he can help revive the struggling Appalachian region by selling coal bundled with carbon credits accrued by planting trees — something he thinks will appeal to utilities struggling to meet new environmental standards. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-19/u-s-steel-canada-said-to-draw-interest-from-erp-other-suitors?cmpid=yhoo.headline. It’s Carbon Credits

Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 12:32 pm

LH, my comment just posted down thread explains fully. Follow the money.

Designator
Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 1:04 pm

CO2-hate = carbon capture = enhanced oil recovery sponsored by taxpayers

Mike Bromley the Kurd
Reply to  Designator
February 22, 2016 9:16 pm

+1

Tom Judd
Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 1:15 pm

“Can anyone explain the Machiavellian logic behind Big Oil promoting…”
It’s protection money. Literally. I’m not being sarcastic. These companies fund environmentalist causes so the enviros will leave them alone. It’s a form of extortion really.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Tom Judd
February 22, 2016 3:31 pm

I think that’s all wrong the big enemy of big oil and gas is coal, if you impute the risk that there can only be so much fossil fuel burnt then they want it to be oil or gas.
Exxon play the same game encouraging a carbon tax to bias the economics toward gas away from coal and alternative fuels to compete on economics, which they simply don’t.
Coal is just so cheap to produce if there were a button that could be pressed to stop all thermal coal combustion it would be a race between the greens and the oil and gas industry.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 22, 2016 4:58 pm

1) Big Oil is also Big Gas. So every time Obama or some other leftist leader shuts down a coal plant and replaces it with a Natural gas plant, Big Oil wins
2) Since they are unreliable and intermittent, all wind and solar plants are backed up natural gas. Again Big Oil is Big Gas, Big Oil wins!
3) In order to spin efficiently, windmills need lots of lubrication. More specifically they need lots of lubrication from special synthetic oils (you can’t just stick 10W-40 in ’em). Who provides that? Well Big Oil of course, Big Oil wins again!!!
4) Same Solar Plants, most solar plants are now solar thermal plants. That is solar energy is used to heat a oil which is used to heat water and generated steam. More specifically they need lots of special synthetic oils as thermal conductors (Again, you can’t just use 10W-40 or cooking oil). Who provides that? Well Big Oil of course, Big Oil wins again!!!

oeman50
Reply to  Qam1
February 23, 2016 9:23 am

3) The amount of oil needed to lubricate wind turbines is a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts needed for fuel.
4) I disagree. Most solar plants continue to be PV units, not thermal. There are a few power towers out west, but PV rules over the rest of the country.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  LeeHarvey
February 24, 2016 2:59 pm

I note that others have covered aspects of this, but let’s not forget that natural gas interests are using this bit of cronyism to compete against coal interests. Short-sighted idiocy on a grand scale, if you ask me.

February 22, 2016 12:09 pm

An oil company interested in geology? Who could possibly imagine such a dreadful thing! 🙂

brians356
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 22, 2016 12:19 pm

Without oil company research, much of the current understanding of geology would be still undiscovered.

MarkW
Reply to  brians356
February 22, 2016 2:15 pm

It was an oil company survey that enabled the discovery of the Chiculub (Sp?) crater down in the Yucatan.

brians356
Reply to  brians356
February 22, 2016 2:31 pm

Gosh, that’s profound. Wait, ordinary blokes were aware of climate change many centuries ago. Medieval Warm Period, followed by Little Ice Age Of course they didn’t have Twitter or Facebook, so …

February 22, 2016 12:15 pm

How nice. We are all oh so careful to comply with the pure and noble doctrine of The Ministry of Thought.

Dodgy Geezer
February 22, 2016 12:17 pm

…and the assertion that the company is today engaging in the promotion of misinformation about climate change, climate science and the role of human activity in climate change, or actively supporting organizations that do.
One of these inquiries came in the form of a letter from a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists AGU received last year. …….we decided that ExxonMobil’s current public statements and activities were not inconsistent with AGU’s positions and the scientific consensus….

One would think that, if they received a letter from an organisation accusing ExxonMobil, then investigated it and found that the accusations were false, they might be unwilling to act on any further information they received from that organisation…
…then again, pigs might fly….

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
February 22, 2016 2:42 pm

I was thinking that: has the Union of Concerned scientists engaged in activities for its entire existence that demonstrate as an organization it is more interested in ideology and political action than science and therefor has no place whatsoever is making suggestions that prance around as though they are informed judgement to a professional association

MarkW
Reply to  fossilsage
February 23, 2016 9:12 am

The first time I’d ever heard of them, they were coming out opposed to nuclear weapons and demanding that the US (but not surprisingly, not the Soviet Union) disarm.

brians356
February 22, 2016 12:17 pm

So AGU’s position may be rephrased in the present tense (without compromising the intent):
“ExxonMobil’s current public statements and activities are not inconsistent with AGU’s positions and the scientific consensus.”
Thank you for coming, folks, and come again, wont you?

higley7
February 22, 2016 12:21 pm

It is easy to see that oil companies will do well either way. Climate alarmism will decrease supplies and increase expenses, the effects of which both get passed on to consumers. If climate alarmist fails, they do a booming business as people use this very useful and essentially harmless energy source.

February 22, 2016 12:31 pm

ExxonMobil changed its tune after buying into shale gas with its 2010 XTO acquisition for $36 billion. Going green meant joining the war on coal. CCGT produces about a third the CO2 of the existing US coal fleet, and about 40% of a new USC coal unit, per mwh. That is inherent in higher unit efficiency (61% versus 34 or 41), higher heating value (~20000btu/lb versus ~10000 for Powder River sub bituminous), and half the CO2 per molecular oxygen unit of combustion chemistry (1 CO2 plus 2 H2O versus 2 CO2). Making AGW noises was a way to indirectly market their purchased trove of shale gas and earn back their $36 billion. Not hard to follow the money.
Same way they supported Obama’s new future CAFE standards for cars and light trucks. In exchange for broadening the E85 Cafe loophole wanted by farm lobby. Knowing full well that even subsidized E85 results in higher fuel cost/ mile because much worse mileage. Ethanol has 2/3 the energy content per gallon of standard gasoline. GM Builds millions of useless FlexFuel vehicles with a useless green badge, and drives them through Obama’s farm lobby loophole. Exxon loves that the loophole means more unpenalized gas guzzlers sold, to whom it then sells more gas.
Hard notnto,become cynical when youmkmow how yhe world really works.

Leo Smith
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 1:02 pm

Hard notnto,become cynical when youmkmow how yhe world really works.
My god ! Nurse! There’s green stuff oozing out of his ears!

Reply to  Leo Smith
February 22, 2016 1:23 pm

Nope. WordPress dropped its black bar over that line as I was typing it on anmold iPad, and could not see it needed correction.

commieBob
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 1:02 pm

Same way they supported Obama’s new future CAFE standards for cars and light trucks. In exchange for broadening the E85 Cafe loophole wanted by farm lobby.

Politics is the art of looking like one is doing what the population wants while disguising the fact that one is doing things that a properly informed population would never want. Congress doesn’t care what you think.

Tom Judd
Reply to  commieBob
February 22, 2016 2:27 pm

“Politics is the art of looking like one is doing what the population wants while disguising the fact that one is doing things that a properly informed population would never want.”
Reminds me about a get together a few years back with a distant relative who, set for life with a good and well funded pension, had the luxury of being a progressive. He drove a late model full sized Cadillac which he bought new. He lamented the fact that “they” didn’t give us cars that got 35mpg. He was a nice guy so I didn’t quite have the temerity to tell him that there already were cars that got 35mpg and nothing was stopping him from buying one – except it wouldn’t be the size of a Cadillac.
I’ll bet he was thrilled back in 2009 when Obama (who he probably voted for), as one of his first acts as the new president/manager (isn’t that what they’re supposed to be?), decreed that cars would get the equivalent of motor scooter mileage, and then strutted his managerial acumen by firing Rick Wagoneer.
I’ll bet my relative thought; ‘finally, they’re giving us cars that get 35mpg!’
Yep. A Cadillac motor scooter.

brians356
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 1:04 pm

I like your summation of the money trail, thanks. But it seems that third martini must have kicked in with that last sentence. 😉

Reply to  brians356
February 22, 2016 1:24 pm

Bitten by an old iPad and WordPress. Not cocktail hour yet here. Green tea time.

brians356
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 1:57 pm

We knew it was something like that. Hey, I thought the ‘i’ in “iPad” stood for “intelligent”? Perhaps “independent” would better explain.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  brians356
February 24, 2016 7:33 am

I’d go with “idiotic” 😉

richard verney
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 2:11 pm

Of course, it produces water vapour, which is a more powerful ‘greenhouse’ gas (a better name would be IR absorbing gas, or radiative gas). .
Whilst water vapour may not have the residency time associated with CO2, if energy is being produced 24/7 365 days a year, year in, year out, ad infinitum, it means that water vapour is constantly being replenished on a 24/7 basis, so that residency time does not become the defining issue.
Burning gas whilst producing less CO2, may not result in lower amounts of so called ‘greenhouse’ gases in view of the water vapour issue.
The IPCC does not like to address full square on, the water vapour issue, just like no one wants to address the electric car issue (where electricity for these vehicles is being generated by burning fossil fuels)..

george e. smith
Reply to  ristvan
February 22, 2016 3:17 pm

Remember when people advocated getting out of all investment and business in South Africa, over their racial policies, at a time when South Africa was the USA (and others) primary source of at least 43 strategic minerals, required by our defense industries among others.
For most of those, our secondary source was that bastion of freedom; Russia. Titanium, and Industrial diamonds, just to name a couple.
G
Reality sucks !

Winnipeg boy
February 22, 2016 12:32 pm

Even the 1615 Inquisition said of Galileo’s theory; that it only be supported as a possibility, not as an established fact.
AGW crowd won’t even grant that latitude.

Resourceguy
Reply to  Winnipeg boy
February 22, 2016 12:53 pm

Interesting, perhaps entropy and radicalizing of organizations and intolerance follow the same path over time.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 22, 2016 12:35 pm

Perhaps someone should write a letter to Exxon-Mobil demanding they sever ties with the AGU until the AGU’s public statements on fraudster Peter Gleick are consistent with their own ethical standards.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 22, 2016 2:27 pm

Excellent idea!

commieBob
February 22, 2016 12:36 pm

But, if a company is excluded from the community based on its past actions, in spite of corrections or improvements that have been made over time, what are the implications?

It is useful to think of corporations as psychopaths. In that light, the AGU apparently thinks Exxon has been rehabilitated.

When court-ordered to submit to “treatment”, they usually only pretend to change until the pressure is off and criminal activities look doable again. History tells us that rehabilitation for full-fledged sociopaths is useless, although the often charming, charismatic sociopath will commonly fool the treatment team into thinking progress is being made. link

Exxon is currently toeing the party line. They are buying influence in the AGU. Will the AGU be assimilated? Stay tuned. (Boy am I ever conflicted on this one.)

eyesonu
February 22, 2016 1:07 pm

” …. As the leaders of AGU, we welcome questions and requests from our members and others in the scientific community, and we assure you that if verifiable information becomes available that proves ExxonMobil is currently engaging in the promotion of misinformation about science or adopting positions that are in conflict with AGU’s own, or supporting groups that do, we will end the relationship, as dictated by our policy – at least until the company is able to demonstrate that such actions have ceased. We encourage our members to share with us any information about current activities that may contradict ExxonMobil’s public statements about their position and actions.”
==================
Sounds great. Now, how about AGU ending the relationship with the 100 scientists who signed the letter, both members and non-members, as delivered to AGU. The letter calls on AGU to sever ties with ExxonMobil.
What’s not to like about that.

Bruce Cobb
February 22, 2016 1:09 pm

Hilarious. The Climate Liars are worried that they will appear hypocritical with their lies about Exxon supporting “d*n*alism, if they accept support from Exxon, which is lying about its support of CAGW, while AGU lies about caring, since it really wants the money. It’s a web of lies and deceit.

RWturner
February 22, 2016 1:55 pm

This is why I left GSA. The administrators have no right to make official organizational scientific positions as if all members of the organization hold that opinion. Societies like AGU or GSA would be nothing without funding from industry, so they’d better mind who they offend.

George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA
February 22, 2016 3:06 pm

This is a very reasoned statement but one wonders why AGU believe it has to be involved in every social, political and legal issue of our times. Nevertheless, normal questions of ‘is it significant’ and ‘is it appropriate’ get lost in today’s assumption that everything is worth an immediate emotional response.

Tom Judd
February 22, 2016 4:00 pm

From AGU’s Facebook page concerning the location for their fall meeting: “(New Orleans) offer(s) exciting opportunities for supporting and enhancing the scientific program and piloting new models for presenting, engaging and sharing scientific research and findings.”
I cannot possibly see what oportunities for supporting scientific research and findings that red beans and rice, oysters on the half shell, five of the US’s 10 best restaurants, R&B bars, Cajun hot sauces, muffalata sandwiches, R&B bars, anything goes strip joints, coffee and beignets, R&B bars, “show us your t… ” (you know the rest), Breakfast at Brennan’s, Bananas Foster, R&B bars, street mimes, go cups, and R&B bars have to offer.
Can I go too? Please. Can I?
Can I get someone to sponsor me? Please. Pretty please with sugar on top

AnonyMoose
February 23, 2016 9:14 am

The AGU is implying that they somehow judge how dirty one’s money is. Do they only accept members who are affiliated with the clean companies?

Reply to  AnonyMoose
February 23, 2016 10:12 am

Seriously? It’s all about money and no one cares if it’s dirty or not. If dropping one entity gets two more to join and donate more money, the one entity is out the door. Principles do not exist in politics anymore.

atmoaggie
February 25, 2016 2:09 pm

Who do you guys think pays for all of the non climate and non atmospheric geophysical research? Those that might benefit, of course. AGU isn’t only about climate change; it just seems that way.

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