AGU Rejects #ExxonKnew Agenda, Email shows more implosions from within

Emails Show Delaware AG Backed out of Schneiderman’s Climate Coalition

Katie Brown, PhD. Energy in Depth

Ever since the American Geophysical Union (AGU) – an international coalition of scientists – announced last April that it would be “continuing our current engagement [with] ExxonMobil,” activists spearheading the #ExxonKnew campaign have been working pretty hard to convince the AGU to change its mind and cut ties with the company entirely.

But late last week, AGU’s board of directors announced that after looking at the evidence again, it would not be ending its relationship with Exxon. “After another careful and systematic review of hundreds of pages of both newly provided and previous documentation and a thoughtful and comprehensive discussion,” AGU said, the group will “continue engagement” with ExxonMobil.

Not only did AGU reject activists’ wishes, it also took the #ExxonKnew argument to task. As the AGU explains,

“As we have said previously, we are very interested in the investigations by the Attorneys General, and will be carefully monitoring their progress and evaluating their findings. We will continue to welcome new information that comes to us directly or otherwise becomes available. If there were concrete evidence that could be independently verified that ExxonMobil is communicating scientific misinformation, then that evidence would be cause for the Board to reconsider our decision regarding acceptance of their sponsorship. We define concrete evidence as documentation that is either publicly accessible (such as online or published material of an organization); a direct quote in full context from someone at ExxonMobil that demonstrates an official connection to misinformation about science; or non-public and independently verifiable material that has been collected by a disinterested, unbiased source, such as via a legal investigation or academic study.” (emphasis added)

In other words, AGU is saying what just about everyone has said about the #ExxonKnew campaign: they do not have “concrete evidence” to back up their claims. AGU even doubled down by noting that this decision to keep working with Exxon is the best reflection of the organization’s goal of fostering scientific dialogue:

“AGU has always valued open dialogue and exchange of ideas, and we believe this decision best reflects AGU’s unique value to the scientific community: our ability to convene scientists of diverse views and from different backgrounds, disciplines, and industries.”

Read between the lines and fostering “open dialogue and exchange of ideas” stands in stark contrast with stifling of speech and research, which the #ExxonKnew campaign has made its hallmark.

That wasn’t the only blow to the #ExxonKnew activists over the past few days. New FIOA’d emails released by Energy & Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal) show that just a few weeks after Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn (D) agreed to sign on to the Common Interest Agreement – which would keep their proceedings on the ExxonMobil investigations secret – he suddenly pulled out, telling the other AGs that he would no longer be participating.

In an April 21, 2016 email, Delaware was included among the AG’s that had signed the agreement:

On May 9, the Vermont AG’s office, following the protocol of their Common Interest Agreement, which requires that the offices notify the group if they receive public records requests, wrote the AGs to let them know that they had received such a request:

That evening, Delaware Deputy Attorney General Ralph Durstein contacted his fellow AGs’ offices to inform them that “Our AG has determined that Delaware will not be involved in this worthy effort, and thus will not be signing the common interest agreement.”

The news of AGU sticking to its guns and Delaware pulling out comes just after Politico reported that billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer – who had been aggressively pushing the #ExxonKnew campaign, even hosting a rally demanding New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster launch his own investigation into Exxon – suddenly changed his tune, completely disavowing the entire campaign. As Steyer said, “We’re definitely not pushing this thing. We are not part of this effort.”

It also comes after other emails revealed that the AGs in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s climate coalition called him a “wild card” and said being associated with his investigation made them “nervous.” Now, with the SEC in the process of taking a look at how ExxonMobil assesses the value of its proven reserves – a move that the company welcomed as “appropriate” – many have said this is Schneiderman’s chance to quietly drop his investigation and let the professionals take it from here.

#ExxonKnew is so dead that just about everyone is running for the hills – maybe even Schneiderman himself.

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September 26, 2016 9:05 am

Yes, AGU are saying what you have amounts to nothing. And to think Inside Climate News received an award at the White House for this rot.

September 26, 2016 9:35 am

White House. Perhaps they should receive a Nobel

Reply to  flogage
September 26, 2016 9:49 am

How about an Ignoble award. This is on a par with putting knit boxer shorts on mice to study their sex lives which received an Iggy.
Of course I consider most of what is published as science in the climate science arena to be more worthy of being published in Journal of Irreproducible Results, see if you are not familiar with that worthy publication.

September 26, 2016 9:35 am

Apparently these AGs are so brainwashed that they don’t even question their required, underlying assumption : that knowledge of climate change is solid and absolute and was also back then when
EXXON was involved. I would think that a lawsuit against global warming govt officials would have a far more solid basis for success – force the officials to demonstrate any damage due to global warming and to show the damages far exceed the benefits of additional atmospheric carbon, and show cast iron validation of the climate models they trust to reveal the truth. Not a chance. Prove that govt officials know. Ha!

September 26, 2016 9:52 am

What will the AGU do when it is shown conclusively that the AG’s conspired in a fabricated campaign based upon half truths, misinformation, and outright lies to slander Exxon because of a political ideology as far removed from science as it could possibly be?

September 26, 2016 9:58 am

If only there were concrete evidence that could be independently verified that Peter Gleick communicated misinformation. Then that evidence would be cause for the Board to reconsider their decision about allowing Gleick to remain in AGU.
Ain’t hypocrisy wonderful?

Reply to  Taphonomic
September 26, 2016 5:50 pm

We have to accept what half-measures we can get.

September 26, 2016 10:08 am

I suppose these Leftwing AG’s and their colleagues had to study the issue of CAGW in order to understand whether Exxon was actually deceiving the public about it, and apparently they came to the conclusion that they could not find evidence of Exxon’s deception because there is no evidence.
I wonder if any of these people looking at this issue turned into skeptics after reviewing the facts.

September 26, 2016 10:11 am

From the AGU website:
EDITOR’S UPDATE (27 MAY 2016): We received an additional question about funding from the oil and gas industry and have added that question and answer below.
Q: How much financial support have oil companies given to AGU?
A: AGU has received less than $700,000 in donations from oil companies. Over the same 2001-2015 period of ExxonMobil’s $620,000 in contributions, AGU received a cumulative total of $75,000 from Chevron, BP, and Shell. AGU received more than $11 million in charitable giving contributions during that same period from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The financial support from Chevron, BP, Shell and ExxonMobil amounts to roughly 6.3 percent of our total contributions and 0.131 percent of AGU’s total operating revenue during that same time.
With such a proportionally small amount donated, it’s hard to think that the complainers are anything but uninformed fanatics.

September 26, 2016 10:27 am

This is a good demonstration project to show how political climate science over reach implodes. It must become toxic for all participants. I hope current and future candidates for local and national office and party leaders are taking notes.

September 26, 2016 10:28 am

Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, June 8, 2016
‘Support for Ontario’s Climate Change Plan’
List includes:
Environmental Defence, Canada
Pembina Institute
Suzuki Foundation
Unilever, Canada
And others
A well known Vermont Unilever subsidiary has a direct connection to Greenpeace USA.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Barbara
September 26, 2016 7:45 pm

Off topic.

Reply to  Barbara
September 27, 2016 9:05 pm

‘Greenpeace 2011 Board of Directors’, USA
Jeffery Hollender, resides in Vermont
Elizabeth Gilchrist has a direct link to Tom Steyer
John Willis, Canada

Dr. Dave
September 26, 2016 10:32 am

Well it looks as if the Anthropogenic Geophysical Union (AGU) will only go so far…

September 26, 2016 10:35 am

Concrete evidence is missing in every aspect of this politicized witch hunt. It’s high time the AGU stood up on this issue in more than an isolated response to one of the attack strategies of the movement.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Resourceguy
September 26, 2016 11:05 am

Sounds similar to evidence for man made global warming.

Gerry, England
September 26, 2016 11:16 am

Scientific misinformation? I think we all know of a lot of people who give this out.

old construction worker
September 26, 2016 12:51 pm

Not to worry. The UN’s “Co2 drives the Climate” international Tax scam may be dying but they have found another tax scam. International control of the internet.

September 26, 2016 5:16 pm

Thanks Anthony for keeping us updated and informed on this matter. I believe it extremely important and even more revealing than any of the other “fight backs” you have pursued in the past ten years as it now seems to really hit hard at the people behind this scam namely the politicians and in this instance it is going very, very high up. Is there any one with more info on the EPA’s coming court case about their “Green Plan” ? That one will go even higher up I think.

September 26, 2016 7:12 pm

AGU is simply saying that they want Exxon money. Unless and until the climatocracy is publicly called out by a so called “mainstream” group and the consensus tactics and strategies are discredited for being unscientific, it is for little.

September 26, 2016 8:30 pm

Hmmmm. Maybe trying to attack a huge multinational with an internet rumor was a bad idea.

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