"Shut up," they explained. (II)

Monday, December 04, 2006
I got interrupted before I could post this, earlier; this is the WSJ article on the letter quoted below.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "Washington has no shortage of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else.

We reprint the full text of the letter here, so readers can see for themselves. But its essential point is that the two Senators believe global warming is a fact, and therefore all debate about the issue must stop and ExxonMobil should 'end its dangerous support of the [global warming] 'deniers.' ' Not only that, the company 'should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history.' And in extra penance for being 'one of the world's largest carbon emitters,' Exxon should spend that money on 'global remediation efforts.'

The Senators aren't dumb enough to risk an ethics inquiry by threatening specific consequences if Mr. Tillerson declines this offer he can't refuse. But in case the CEO doesn't understand his company's jeopardy, they add that 'ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years.' (Our emphasis.) The Senators also graciously copied the Exxon board on their missive.

This is amazing stuff. On the one hand, the Senators say that everyone agrees on the facts and consequences of climate change. But at the same time they are so afraid of debate that they want Exxon to stop financing a doughty band of dissenters who can barely get their name in the paper. We respect the folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but we didn't know until reading the Rockefeller-Snowe letter that they ran U.S. climate policy and led the mainstream media around by the nose, too. Congratulations."

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