Senators Tell ExxonMobil to Stop Funding Climate Change Deniers (A Story Mother Jones Broke)

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In the summer of 2005, Mother Jones ran a huge investigative piece by Chris Mooney (author of the Republican War on Science) about how ExxonMobil funds a vast array of think-tanks and special interest groups that promote climate change denial.

And now, according to ABC, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va) have written to ExxonMobil demanding that the company “stop funding groups that have spread the idea that global warming is a myth and that try to influence policymakers to adopt that view.”

In their letter to ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., appealed to Exxon’s sense of corporate responsibility, asking the company to “come clean about its past denial activities.” The two senators called on ExxonMobil to “end any further financial assistance” to groups “whose public advocacy has contributed to the small but unfortunately effective climate change denial myth.”

Remember folks, you heard it here first.

The ABC story also notes that the “letter comes as dozens of major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart, Citigroup and GE — get set to gather in New York next week for the Corporate Climate Response conference. The conference provides a forum for companies to discuss their efforts to address global warming, a topic getting increased attention in boardrooms across the United States.

And so the cover package we have in the current issue could not be better timed. One part is a story by Julia Whitty that asks when humans will get past denial and deal with climate change, and lessons humanity can learn from other species about how cooperation is the key to survival. And the other is a multi-story package on corporate responsibility, which takes a hard look at what part of the movement is just spin and what part is substance. (For a taste, check out Bill McKibben’s “Hype vs. Hope: Is Corporate Do-Goodery for Real?“.)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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