A few weeks ago, you may recall, I took part in a conference call* with Ken Cohen, VP for Public Affairs at Exxon, on Exxon's changing public stance on climate change. Well, it looks like Exxon is continuing its blogroots** PR campaign by holding more conference calls with representatives from blogs like The Oil Drum (y'know, the peak oilers) and Watthead.
Since I seem to be coming across lately as something of an Exxon apologist (although that is not my intent at all), I was especially glad to see that The Oil Drum asked Mr. Cohen about the role of Exxon in the American Enterprise Institute Report and the alleged payoff to economists for debunking the IPCC report climate change report. Here is Exxon's response as reported by The Oil Drum:
ExxonMobil has no knowledge regarding the allegations made in the February 2 article by Ian Sample. ExxonMobil does fund AEI for the purpose of promoting active policy debate along with many others including Microsoft, Dell, State Farm, International Paper, Dow Chemical, American Express and others. The AEI is an independent tax exempt organization and questions related to this matter should be directed to them.
What I find interesting in all of this is Exxon's choice of PR tactics. They seem to have given up on trying to convince the mainstream media that they are willing to talk about climate change--perhaps because they know it is futile--and instead have decided to use (manipulate?) bloggers to start from the bottom up. Is this a desparate move by Exxon, or more indicators that mainstream media is losing its power?
*My recollection of that conversation can be found here. And yes, this is yet another sad attempt by me to get more people to read those posts. They took a long time to write dammit.