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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Turning the climate tide
In an unusual and noteworthy move, the oil and energy giant ExxonMobil has officially accepted the contested but widely acknowledged principle that carbon emissions are contributing to global warming. The company has cut ties to organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which favors limiting climate regulation, and other bodies skeptical of the human contribution to climate change.
The blogger at Can't See the Forest doesn't get too excited, noting that the world's largest public company (really?) is "still in the business of selling oil" (obviously) and that "Ceres, a group of investors and environmentalists which has functioned as something of a watchdog on corporate environmental policy, gave Exxon a score of 35 on its performance in dealing with the problem of global warming in 2006. British Petroleum, by comparison, had scored a 90." The writer thinks it's an image move on ExxonMobil's part, perhaps akin to the "beyond petroleum" ad campaign of BP. That may be so, but environmentalists can't greet this move with anything but relief.
In related news, reported on the Globe's front page, banks are now getting in on the responsibility act, with the prodding of organizations like Ceres: "The groups say they have won commitments from more than a dozen banks in the last few weeks to turn away from supporting coal-fired electric plants."
[Updated 5:46 p.m.]