13 Nov 2006 Inside the Beltway on Defunding the Mysteriously Anonymous Front Groups
John McCaslin’s popular Inside the Beltway column takes a look today at our criticism of Senators Rockefeller and Snowe for calling on ExxonMobil to defund 29 unspecified “Climate Change Denial Front Groups”:
Burning Rex More reaction to the sharply critical letter that Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine and Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia sent recently to Rex W. Tillerson, otherwise welcoming him to his new post as chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp.
The remainder of the three-page letter, shall we say, blasted a so-called ‘climate-change denial strategy carried out by and for Exxon Mobil’ against global warming — the senators accusing the oil giant of being ‘the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate-change denial front groups in 2004 alone.’
The bipartisan pair went so far as to request that Mr. Tillerson ‘publicly acknowledge both the reality of the climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it,’ even absent scientific proof of such a cause.
Now, one prominent Washington group is stepping forward to acknowledge receiving ‘modest funding from the energy sector, including from Exxon Mobil,’ although the National Center for Public Policy Research says such funding has never exceeded 1 percent of annual expenditures.
And while it ‘recognizes both that global temperatures have risen over the past 150 years and that anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect,’ the center calls attention to competing scientific data of the causes of global warming, and therefore believes that any anthropogenic signature is ‘likely to be modest.’
And who can say they aren’t right?
Nicolas Copernicus, as the center points out, was condemned for suggesting that the sun, rather than the earth, was the center of our universe. Giordano Bruno, meanwhile, was persecuted and ultimately burned at the stake for arguing that space extended beyond our solar system. And William Harvey was ridiculed by leading medical authorities of his day for suggesting that the heart was the center of the body’s circulatory system.
‘Copernicus, Bruno and Harvey were persecuted out of fear,’ it notes. ‘Each ultimately was proven to be correct.’
As for Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller, the center charges they ‘are engaging in persecution of their own, attempting to silence dissenting voices … and, as such, should be condemned by Americans of all political persuasions — both left and right.’