Crise climatique: Exxon en accusation



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L’association américaine Union of Concerned Scientist (UCS) publie un important rapport sur les agissements de la société Exxon en matière de désinformation dans le domaine du réchauffement climatique. Le rapport vient d’être mis en ligne et documente une action que l’UCS apparente à l’action de désinformation des compagnies de tabac portant sur l’effet nocif du tabac.

Exxon a “investi” $16 millions entre 1998 et 2005, auprès de 43 organisations, pour alimenter un travail général de désinformation dans le domaine des recherches sur le réchauffement climatique. La diffusion du document de l’UCS, qui est présenté dans un communiqué de l’association, constitue un événement important. L’association est connue pour son sérieux et le document qu’elle publie vient à son heure, alors qu’une mobilisation générale est lancée au niveau des gouvernements et du monde scientifique pour lutter contre l’aggravation très rapide de la crise climatique.

Extraits du communiqué de l’UCS, qui est repris par Reuters (par l’intermédiaire de News.Scotsman) et par AP (par Business Week) :

«A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the most comprehensive documentation to date of how ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry's disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.

»“ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Director of Strategy & Policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.”

»Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to “Manufacture Uncertainty” on Climate Change details how the oil company, like the tobacco industry in previous decades, has

»• raised doubts about even the most indisputable scientific evidence ;

»• funded an array of front organizations to create the appearance of a broad platform for a tight-knit group of vocal climate change contrarians who misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific findings ;

»• attempted to portray its opposition to action as a positive quest for “sound science” rather than business self-interest used its access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming.

»ExxonMobil-funded organizations consist of an overlapping collection of individuals serving as staff, board members, and scientific advisors that publish and re-publish the works of a small group of climate change contrarians. The George C. Marshall Institute, for instance, which has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil, recently touted a book edited by Patrick Michaels, a long-time climate change contrarian who is affiliated with at least 11 organizations funded by ExxonMobil. Similarly, ExxonMobil funds a number of lesser-known groups such as the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Both groups promote the work of several climate change contrarians, including Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist who is affiliated with at least nine ExxonMobil-funded groups.

»Baliunas is best known for a 2003 paper alleging the climate had not changed significantly in the past millennia that was rebutted by 13 scientists who stated she had misrepresented their work in her paper. This renunciation did not stop ExxonMobil-funded groups from continuing to promote the paper. Through methods such as these, ExxonMobil has been able to amplify and prop up work that has been discredited by reputable climate scientists.

»“When one looks closely, ExxonMobil's underhanded strategy is as clear and indisputable as the scientific research it's meant to discredit,” said Seth Shulman, an investigative journalist who wrote the UCS report. “The paper trail shows that, to serve its corporate interests, ExxonMobil has built a vast echo chamber of seemingly independent groups with the express purpose of spreading disinformation about global warming.”»

Mis en ligne le 4 janvier 2007 à 17H21


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