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Is Masters champion Phil Mickelson unwittingly helping ExxonMobil greenwash its anti-science record?

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"Is Masters champion Phil Mickelson unwittingly helping ExxonMobil greenwash its anti-science record?"

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I’m interested in your thoughts on how much greenwashing this is on a scale of 1 to 10.

I watch pretty much every major golf tournament.  And that means that I saw some great golf played this weekend at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, especially by the winner, Phil Mickelson.

It also means I saw some heart-warming/green-washing commercials pitching the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, which is “designed to provide third- through fifth-grade teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to motivate students to pursue careers in science and math.”  ExxonMobil explains the rationale:

Today, in fields like medicine, computing and energy, the U.S. needs more brilliant young minds than ever before. Yet, as the need for brainpower grows, the number of our nation’s young people pursuing careers in these areas is decreasing.  Fortunately, we believe this trend can be reversed, which is why we partnered with professional golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy….

Yes, the second-biggest fossil-fuel funder of anti-science disinformation, ExxonMobil, whose goal is to convince the public that scientists and the scientific method cannot be trusted, is worried that young people don’t want to pursue science as a career.

Now, Mickelson is, by appearances and almost all press accounts, a very decent guy (although hagiography is rampant in every sport, including, as we now know, golf).  I suspect he has no clue what ExxonMobil has been doing to help create a hostile climate for science and scientists.

So, Phil, in the exceedingly unlikely event you read this, it would appear your Academy is designed in part to help us forget that country’s biggest oil company has funneled millions of dollars to fund the disinformation campaigns of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, all of which continue to advance anti-scientific attacks as I have detailed recently (see posts on Heritage and CEI and AEI).

Chris Mooney wrote an excellent piece on ExxonMobil‘s two-decade anti-scientific campaign a few years ago.  Mooney notes that one anti-science disinformer, Paul Driessen, a senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow ($252,000 from ExxonMobil) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise ($40,000 in 2003), said in 2005 that he’s “heartened that ExxonMobil and a couple of other groups have stood up and said, ‘this is not science.’ ”  That’s the kind of science education ExxonMobil has been funding for a decade.

A 2007 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report looked at ExxonMobil’s tobacco industry-like tactics in pushing anti-scientific global warming disinformation (see “Today We Have a Planet That’s Smoking!”).  Like the tobacco industry, ExxonMobil’s goal is to undercut real science and replace it with their phony science.

The oil giant said it would stop, but that was just another lie (see “Another ExxonMobil deceit: They are still funding climate science deniers despite public pledge“).  Mickelson should read this excellent commentary by award-winning journalist, Eric Pooley, “Exxon Works Up New Recipe for Frying the Planet.”

ExxonMobil’s funding of virulently anti-science fanatics, carried to its ‘logical’ extreme by the extremists who the disinformation campaign is aimed at, leads to McCarthyism or worse:

So now ExxonMobil is shocked, shocked, that the number of our nation’s young people pursuing careers in science is decreasing.  That reminds me of Leo Rosten’s famous definition of chutzpah:  “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”

Note to ExxonMobil:  You should change your trademarked tagline from “taking on the world’s toughest energy challenges” to “creating the world’s toughest energy challenges.”

Mickelson, the “good guy” golfer who used to be wild, but now has his act together [unlike that other golfer in the news these days] has no doubt pursued this for the noblest of motives, and the Academy is no doubt providing valuable skills to teachers.  But I don’t think that gives it a free pass from being greenwashing for ExxonMobil.

What do you think? How much greenwashing is this is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 9 being, say, calling gasoline from the tar sands with a little corn ethanol thrown in “Mother Nature’s Fuel” and 10 being pretty much anything that comes out of the mouth of Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

h/t to Brad Johnson for the video.

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42 Responses to Is Masters champion Phil Mickelson unwittingly helping ExxonMobil greenwash its anti-science record?

  1. I saw the ad and it annoyed me. I’ve come to distrust anything Exxon does. So it gets about an 8. And I worry less about the ad than about what the children are being taught.

  2. Stepshep says:

    I really don’t think it’s that much greenwashing at all. Is Exxon a big evil company trying to destroy science as we know it? Most likely. Does their donation to an academy make them look a little better to the public? Of course. Does that make their donation or the academy “bad?” I don’t think so. I’d say there’s definitely some whitewashing going on, but not much green, if any.

  3. mike roddy says:

    I give Mickelson a 9.5, just below Dan Blankenship, because there is something really horrifying about polluting corporations poisoning our elementary schoolkids with their lies. Weyerhauser did it with their lesson plans about trees, and Exxon has been doing it for a long time, too. John Stauber, the former science teacher, has a good blog on the subject.

    The next time there’s a Mickelson/Woods playoff, I’m going to get a beer from the fridge and reluctantly cheer for the porn-star loving Tiger.

  4. charlie says:

    when you only have a hammer the whole world looks like a nail.

  5. Leif says:

    It very well may be that Phil Mickelson is truly unaware of the “real” EXXON. Efforts must be made to reach folks like Phil. It is clear from EXXON donations to anti-Science that the scientists that they want are only those that “Think” inside the box of EXXON dogma. I have hated EXXON since the Valdez oil spill so my “10″ is obviously bias.

  6. Richard Brenne says:

    A triple-bogey 8.

    Of all the most spoiled, pampered, self-absorbed, self-important, unconcerned with anything but their own egos athletes on Earth, golfers are probably the worst (some U.S. Ryder Cuppers refused to meet with that communist Clinton in the White House at his invitation), but I was rooting for Phil too.

  7. Wit's End says:

    This is doubly ironic because Phil Mickelson’s wife has breast cancer. I guess he doesn’t know that ozone from fossil fuel emissions causes cancer, because surely if he did, he wouldn’t want to be associated with the industry that is lying to the public about the effects of their product, one of which is causing cancer.

  8. Dana says:

    It’s not exactly greenwashing because the ad doesn’t claim Exxon is green. It is of course incredibly hypocritical for the company which funds right-wing think tank conspiracies that all climate scientists are frauds to suddenly seem concerned that too few kids are pursuing scientific careers. ‘Scientists are evil, Johnny! Wait, why don’t you want to be a scientist?’

    I’d give it a 10 on the hypocrisy chart, and it’s an unfortunate decision by Mickelson to choose Exxon as a partner for this project. But not exactly greenwashing.

  9. Doug Bostrom says:

    The golfing industry is to be congratulated for moving ever so sluggishly in the general direction of figuring out how to make obsessive-compulsive lawn care more compatible with the rest of the planet.

  10. Will Greene says:

    I was rooting for Phil until I saw that ad…what a buzz kill.

  11. Michael Tucker says:

    My take on this is ExxonMobil (EM) needs, for PR purposes, to be able to say they support science at some level. This is one of their “support science” campaigns. If they really help to fund math and science programs in elementary schools then great! But how much climate science is taught in elementary school? I don’t think it will persuade many children that global warming is not happening.

    EM does need, and they do use, the best scientists and engineers they can recruit. These are not phony scientists. But their scientists are just not going to acknowledge that global warming is happening. That would be a bad career move for a petroleum geologist working for EM. EM needs good chemists too, just not ones who will realistically discuss global warming.

    I would have to give this a 1 or 2 on the greenwashing scale.

  12. homunq says:

    Pollution and moneymaking (including rentseeking from private tax cuts) are at the heart of EM. So if they were claiming to be green in some way, and, as this ad, the claim was specifically true but totally beside the point, that would be an 8. (Not 9, because “this fuel is green” is a direct lie, unlike this ad).

    But trashing science is not as central. They also need scientists. So all in all, I’d give this one a 7.

    If Mickelson is reading, what can he do? He’s not going to change something that is this much bigger than him. He could conceivably, however, get some particularly egregious EM money recipient – someone who’s a smaller fish than he himself – defunded. So, if he were to decide to do this, who should he target?

  13. Seth says:

    Joe’s post is the real buzz kill. Might be better to save the righteous indignation for something important.

  14. Brett says:

    It is not the scientific method that is untrustworthy. What concerns me are all of the causational statements made by climate “scientists” when multiple unknown/uncontrolled variables exist that make any conclusions correlational at best.

  15. Jeff Huggins says:

    This type of thing drives me batty: A company that puts forward a pro-science and pro-community face, with nice clean commercials, clean-sounding music, happy faces, and so forth, pretending to respect science and people, and (at the same time) is confusing the public on a much larger scale, denying science, ignoring it in important ways, pursuing profit in a way that says “to H_LL with future generations!”, and so forth.

    But I’m afraid that we get what we deserve: Have you seen any large-scale boycotts of ExxonMobil recently? Have we been able to accomplish one … to get one started? How many people, here, have said “it won’t do any good” or “boycotts don’t work” or etc.?

    Their greenwashing of this sort is working. They get top ad agencies (who must not care about the climate, or must not know better I guess). They get top sports stars. They get handsome and attractive actors and actresses. They can get brownie points by giving a very small amount of money (to them) to schools and so forth. They get The New York Times to carry their advertorials, on the front page, and to not do responsible investigative journalism in order to give the public the straight scoop. And so forth.

    Now that Andy R. and Dot Earth are on the “opinion” side of the fence at the NYT, I wonder if he will give the public the straight scoop on ExxonMobil and the confusion and misinformation they spread? Andy, can we expect Dot Earth to inform us all about ExxonMobil.

    Anyhow, you can tell that this sort of ExxonMobil ad does not put me in a good mood.

    Cheers, and Be Well,

    Jeff

  16. BBHY says:

    Exxon is evil. It’s as simple as that.

    I noticed the IBM commercial featured a Tesla electric car. Whoo-hoo!

  17. Doug Bostrom says:

    Brett says: April 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    You’ll do better with your rhetoric if you have some factual resources at your fingertips.

    Start here:

    Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming”, a handy compendium of information on climate change useful to logical positivists as well as those working from a more tightly constrained or proprietary perspective.

  18. PeterW says:

    I’m guessing Phil isn’t just Phil, he probably has a small army of advisers that probably explained to him the up and down side of this endorsement. I believe they realized that there wasn’t too much to lose because most of the golf community couldn’t give two figs about the environment. And yes I do golf occasionally.

    P.S. Brett you don’t really understand much about climate science to make a silly statement like that.

  19. David Smith says:

    There are a lot of bad things that are happening as a result of the efforts of individuals hiding behind the giant curtain that is ExxonMobile. However, to assume that the corporation is anti science is foolhardy. There work is based on the latest in science and technology that the western world can produce. Actually, they may be more interested in the engineering (that is derived from the science) than the science itself.

    What they are fighting against is the science that is getting in the way of their plans in the world for greater profitability. The dynamic is similar to the evolution / creationism conflict. I dont think anyone objects to the fact that things evolve, Its applying evolution to humans that causes problems.

    The group is more into SELECTIVE SCIENCE. The science they can use is great and true. The other is the work of the devil.

    Solutions might be more likely if we work with greater differentiation and less generalization.

    The fact that they denier kings are screwing with the welfare of the American people in such a shortsighted and dangerous way for personal gain while hiding behind a curtain, and compensating with meaningless gestures. I give it a 10. It should be banned from the media. Its some kind if feel good white-wash.

    Sorry for the run-on. I just read an article about tea-partiers in Oklahoma are trying trying to start a state sanctioned volunteer militia do defend the state against the wrong doing of the federal government. Too crazy.

  20. I rememebr reading about Exxon funding climate lies in freely donated textbooks, during the time when An Inconvenient Truth was being banned in some schools in some states.

    So I think the question on the teacher’s application “Why are math and science important subjects for your students?” is a very dicey one.

  21. A good piece of investigative reporting would be if a “teacher” were to go undercover to the academy and see what is taught. I doubt their interest in teaching science is just to get a few more geologists.

  22. Glenn Maynard says:

    Phil doesnt have anything to be ashamed of. He is a good husband father and son. Oh, I forgot he just happened to win the most prestigious golf tournament. So I cant see where thats so bad. I doubt he owns any of ExxonMobile. I have heard about and seen for myself fundraising that he does. He probably makes good money from the commercial but thats his life. Like I said before I have read quite a bit about all of the donations that he has made himself and the fundraising that he does.

  23. substanti8 says:

    There’s greenwashing of an overall corporate image, rather than any particular products or actions that are harmful.  So I would give it a 6 on the greenwashing scale.

    On the other hand, this video is ripe for a parody.  For example …

    Math and science – it’s all around us.

    Even in politics.  That’s why Exxon has funded organizations like the Heritage Foundation, where they sow public confusion about scientific facts that would decrease Exxon profits …

    And the children have different titles:
              Future Climate Scientist
              Future Arctic Wildlife Biologist

    … creating a hotter future for all of us.

  24. Wit's End says:

    substantia8,

    It is all so ludicrous.

    My professor ex-husband was the youngest-ever inductee to the US Academy of Science. Our eldest is a lawyer, our middle child is a 3rd year at UPenn vet school, and our youngest is going to be graduating Princeton this spring, in environmental biology.

    I know more about climate change than all of them put together.

    If they don’t get the urgency and consequences of climate change – despite my warnings – I’m sorry, there isn’t a chance in hell Joe the Plumber will.

  25. Dan B says:

    There seems to be a trend in the messaging / branding here, not just in this commercial. In this case it’s the messenger: Strong, masculine, white male, winner.

    The NYT’s “Green is for Sissies” becomes more disturbing in this context, as does Don Blankenship’s “sillies” comment. It seems as though the poll testing is showing that the public can be steered away from “Green” by associating it’s proponents to be womanly (definition of sissy – also see pansy, and other similarly flavored epithets). This puts supporters of green and renewable energy in the position of being powerless whiners.

    It’s a trap.

    The way out is to ask if men care about their kids and families, especially when the science is saying we need to make “forceful” changes to “save” our world from pollution. And when the financial sector is demonstrating that we’ve got to make some “big” changes and “forceful regulations” to steer Wall Street to making loans that produce jobs, if we want to “strengthen” our communities. And there’s that need for energy “security” so we’re not giving EM our dollars to give to Saudi Sheiks who could cut our oil supplies and throw our economy into chaos.

  26. Ronald says:

    I heard years ago, don’t pick an argument with someone who buys his ink in a barrel. That was said when newspapers had more power to influence public opinion.

    Now it might be said to not pick a fight with someone that makes their money by the billions. or even the tens, hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars.

    Carbon fuel sellers in the United States make about a trillion dollars a year, and 5 trillion a year around the world.

    Against some Climate Scientists with mostly government sponsored jobs. Against an industry that brings the fuel to heat and powers our homes, businesses and vehicles. and here you’re picking on some children wanting to just go to school to learn science.

    Not a fair fight at all. Then ask Phil where he gets his fuel to fuel his private jet to get to all these golf tournaments. I bet he uses alot of Exxon products.

  27. The Wonderer says:

    I would be curious to know what autonomy the sponsored math teacher’s academy actually has. Regardless, everyone at the academy will know which side of the bread is buttered. I think this is the more subtle and sinister form of coercion.

    By the way, I wish Phil and his family the best, but the fact that Tiger previously won a major on one leg proves once and for all that golf is not a real sport.

  28. Russell Thomas says:

    Great ad. My kid is a new grad in engineering. Exxon and others need a lot of scientists and engineers for new products. It is not a secret our schools are lagging in science and math education and graduation rates. I have visited 2 of Exxons top research centers. World class in research.

  29. substanti8 says:

    Well, I agree with your assessment, Wit’s End.  I too have a large collection of anecdotes – unsuccessful attempts to inspire interest in the issue among people I know and meet.  I don’t know how someone like Joe keeps a positive attitude about creating social change.

    The latest example was someone I met this morning from our local university.  He and his wife were riding bicycles, which I took as a good sign, so I engaged them with a smart-ass remark about Palin, which made them laugh.  We chatted about climate change, and the man’s conclusion was a confident assertion that “humans have always adapted,” and this would be no different.  His wife said nothing.  When I pointed out that the last climate change of this magnitude (with no greenhouse gas reductions) was a major extinction event, his astonishing reply was, “I’m not worried.”

  30. malcreado says:

    science and the environment are not necessarily one and the same. Like them or not, Exxon hires a lot of scientists so it is not particularly nefarious.

  31. john atcheson says:

    What is the money used for and what conditions are imposed upon those who accept it. If the money goes to the foundation and then there’s no control, then fine — Exxon gives up some money in an attempt to burnish their image and kids benefit.

    If there are stings, then Phil is either a dupe or a bad guy.

    Exxon is bad in either case.

  32. jorleh says:

    Yes, golf is a disaster, any golfer is a disaster ecologically.

  33. Lewis W. says:

    I’d say about a 7. As someone mentioned there wasn’t really any claim of ecological soundness there. Although didn’t they label one of the little kids “future geoscientist?” On a scale of 1-10 on the hypocritical meter they are breaking the needle. Standard corporate watching out for the bottom line stuff here. All corporations do their best to make themselves out as something other than a big scary monster.

    I’d be careful to make Phil out to be a saint in this. I like golf and Phil more than any other golfer sends me on a pendulum between fan and hate his guts.

    I always find his Gomer Pyle ‘awww shucks’ attitude false or maybe it’s willfully naive which I have even less patience with. I don’t believe his character or often (even after the green jackets) that he has character. He no doubt believes in this cause but I can’t think for a minute he doesn’t know he’s lying down with dogs. And I can’t decide what that says about his character.

  34. Leland Palmer says:

    It’s a solid 8, IMO.

    We should not be surprised at this, IMO, considering ExxonMobil’s track record.

    That track record stretches back into the old Standard Oil empire of John D. Rockefeller, by the way. The Rockefellers pretty much invented corporate public relations departments, in response to (true) charges of monopolism and dirty dealing in building their corporate monopoly on oil refining in the U.S.

    ExxonMobil is the merger of two fragments of the anti-trust action in 1911 which fragmented Standard Oil. Interestingly enough, the fragmentation did not affect stock prices, and the stock as a whole never lost money. Also, it is alleged that this anti-trust action simply led the Rockefeller family to cloak its control of the Standard Oil empire in a flurry of trusts and endowments to charitable foundations. Those charitable foundations eternalize wealth by making it tax free, and the stock that capitalizes those foundations still can be used to control the corporations themselves, if the voting of the trustees of the foundations is controlled.

    As recently as 2006, the Rockefeller family supposedly sent Lee Raymond back to Texas with his 450 million dollar golden parachute, demonstrating that the Rockefeller family retains enough control to oust CEOs of ExxonMobil.

    So yes, it’s greenwashing. ExxonMobil has been doing this to us for most of a century, via corporate PR.

    And nothing as big as ExxonMobil should be allowed to exist, and be controlled by totally unelected and unaccountable people, IMO. Their actions regarding climate change and their monopolistic activities during the Bush administration alone merit nationalization, IMO.

    Shoot, because of the alleged cloaking of corporate control, as documented by sociologist Thomas R. Dye and others, we don’t even know for sure who is running ExxonMobil, and we don’t know who to hold accountable for its actions. We have to infer who is in control by who wins the stock proxy voting wars, and so far that has invariably been the Rockefeller family.

  35. PeterW says:

    Joe, when you have the chance, I would be very interested on your views on substantia8 and Wit’s End’s comments. I have also tried to talk to friends and family about the subject, but most do not want to discuss the subject. If you persist, they roll their eyes. You can tell they’re thinking, here he goes again.

    If we can’t convince the people closes to us, or even get them to listen, how on earth can we convince anyone else to take climate chang?

  36. Richard Brenne says:

    About golfers: I’ve had many conversations with the most senior people (okay, the second-most senior) people at Nike about what athletes could become like Cameron Diaz (who trained with Gore), Leonardo DiCaprio (produced and narrated The 11th Hour) and Laurie David (producer of An Inconvenient Truth) about climate change.

    This guy says “How about Roger Federer, Lance Armstrong, Steve Nash, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant?

    “How about someone we’ve heard of?” I responded (of course jokingly).

    Never did Tiger’s name come up (the most substantive conversations were pre-scandal) except to say that he’d never consider such a thing (on his private jet, 147 foot yacht, etc). He was too “focused.” Same with all the golfers I’ve ever heard about. Historically the most racist, sexist, anti-Semitic sport in history with the worst environmental track record of any sport (water in Arizona, California and Middle Eastern deserts, chemicals on most untold acres of grass, prime open space with no contributions to agriculture or with private courses, the public) is not the place to look for environmental heroes (though I’d work with Phil or anyone else if they were ever interested).

    I guess the most positive thing about golf is that Kevin Trenberth is an avid golfer (and had been a champion rugby player in his native New Zealand) but he’s the only climate scientist I know who plays. I’m working on getting top climate scientists, communicators, journalists and athletes together talking about climate change at conferences that also include skiing, mountain and glacier climbing, hiking, etc.

    Like talking shop on the golf course, but if the shop you were talking about was rapidly disappearing under your feet.

  37. alatrojan says:

    do you tree huggers ever read anything but your own stuff? After going through one of the coldes winters of my life, your rants are comical.

  38. Richard Brenne says:

    About ExxonMobil: Great history, Leland Palmer (#34)! One small detail is that Lee Raymond probably got closer to $400 million than the $450 million you mentioned, so not that much:)!

    When William Gray and others say that scientists “Are just scaring us with global warming to get more grant money” I respond “The annual budget of UCAR/NCAR is around $135 million, while in 2005 alone ExxonMobil’s CEO made $400 million. You’re right to follow the money, but it leads in the opposite direction from that which you suggest.”

    And so I support Jeff Huggins and all the ExxonMobil comments and actions here.

    At the same time we always have to remember that it is our demand for oil, or addiction really, that creates suppliers or pushers like ExxonMobil. It is only when we eliminate our demand that the problems with suppliers will be addressed. It is the same for the ridiculous Republican “War on Drugs” that addressed supply infinitely more than demand. Where there is demand there will always be someone trying to supply it.

    Yes we need to hold ExxonMobil accountable for all their sins, but at the same time it’s always most meaningful to heal our own sins.

    About speaking to people (PeterW #34, Wit’s End [Gail] #34): My elderly Mom just doesn’t get it even though she goes to many of my talks and events – it’s just where she is and it can’t be helped. She doesn’t disagree with me, she just doesn’t get it. Maybe the Greatest Generation (greatest pandering ever by Brokaw to his aging network news audience at the time, now he’s pandering to Boomers) doesn’t want to see their part in the greatest catastrophe of all time.

    My sister is very successful in business and gets it, as does her husband. They’re both very smart and have gone from Republicans to Democrats within the last decade. Their business is computers, so they’re science, evidence and logic-based.

    My wife gets it but hears about it so much she doesn’t really want to hear about it more. She calls me “Debbie Downer” from the Saturday Night Live character that’s always bringing everyone down with her comments, but this creates funny exchanges between us. Again, she doesn’t deny any of it, it’s just not her thing or where her focus is, and she’s also scary smart (she could start a scientific journal just dealing with my many faults, and might).

    My 17-year-old daughter had climbed, explored under and skied on glaciers on three continents by the time she was seven, skied off the summits of big, glaciated Cascade volcanoes since she was nine, sees them shrinking before her eyes, ski raced the Junior Olympics in dangerous (for the courses which need to be ice instead of slush) conditions in Aspen’s, Colorado’s and the world’s second warmest March on record (until this March pushed it down to third), attends my talks, brought me to her AP Environment Science class to speak and she REALLY gets it. She doesn’t always want to hear or talk about it either, because she still has to be a 17-year-old at times.

    What’s interesting is how she and her friends have attended my heaviest-duty talks and come away way energized that they’re going to save the world! Such things give me my greatest hope. . .

    Every day I interact with people, often strangers, about climate change. I’ll talk with the owners, mountain managers and weathercasters in ski patrol about what they’re seeing, long-time skiers, climbers and orchard growers, fly fishers, commercial fishers (like Leif!), anyone. I go to where global warming-influenced debris flows have come off of Mt. Hood (up to 35 miles away creating a sand bar out in the Columbia) and talk to fishermen and others there about what they saw when it happened and what they think caused it. I tend to go where people’s interests are and meet them there.

    But we invariably leave as great friends because I see where they’re coming from, gently plant seeds, and don’t push too hard. I see where their psychological limit is, when the denial that I feel is in all of us (climate change is just too overwhelming for anyone to completely get their thinking around) is overtaking reason and leave them at that point so I don’t do more harm than good.

    Most of all I try to weave around, climb under or over the brick wall of denial that I don’t want to run into. It’s a daily process of learning and improving that we’re all working to improve.

  39. Richard Brenne says:

    alatrojan (#37) – “do you tree huggers ever read anything but your own stuff? After going through one of the coldes winters of my life, your rants are comical.”

    Yes, I just read your stuff. Thanks, we enjoy humor as well. And you got our names right, at least Gail, Leif and myself literally hug trees (mostly platonically). By any chance are you a USC Trojan (which would explain a lot), and do you care to share where you spent the coldes (sic) winter of your life, or is that anonymous as well?

    Wherever it is (let’s say Moose Jaw), you’ll notice scientists and others not subject to Dunning-Kruger syndrome call it global warming, not Moose Jaw warming.

  40. PeterW says:

    Thanks Richard for the comment. I’m not as blunt as I use to be, I realize it just takes time with people. The problem is we don’t have anymore time.

  41. Greg says:

    The U.S. “…needs more brilliant young minds than ever before.” but there are already plenty brilliant old minds who have clearly pointed out that Exxon’s line of business is severely impacting our planet. How about a few more brilliant minds in the policy and political sectors who might actually allow us to act on the knowledge we already have?

    Exxon madrasses for science teachers? Phil, you really need to stick to golf. Follow Tiger’s lead and turn yourself in to a treatment center for corporate money addiction.

  42. John Fremont says:

    Notwithstanding Exxon’s opposition to government action on climate change, they still need scientists to run their business. They need geologists and chemists and engineers to run the basics of their business, regardless of whether climate change legislation passes or not. Making money is their primary mission, as it should, since they are a for-profit corporation. They may very well believe that this is also good press regarding climate change, but don’t overlook the fundamentals of the business they are in and their very real need for good scientists.