The US-based oil giant Exxon Mobil has been caught with its pants down. The Royal Society of England has discovered that the company funds NGOs and research institutions to release a campaign that climate change and global warming are not a result of the burning of carbon fuels. The company has much to loose in a campaign against the use of carbon fuels like petrol and diesel. Its turnover of one billion dollar a day can take a beating if the campaign became serious.
The Royal Society sought information from Exxon the names of institutions it has funded and how much. According to the Society'sinformation, Exxon distributed nearly three million dollars to 39 groups to carry the misrepresentation about the cause of climate change. The oil giant, which was warned earlier once by the Royal Society had promised to cease funding, but obviously had not.
According to reports, Exxon hired several firms who had some scientists in them and were apparently involved in research on carbon emissions, to do the job of junking scientific data and analysis on climatic change and global warming. One such case was that of Frederick Seitz. A physicist, he was the president of the US National Academy Sciences (NAS), a state-sponsored, reputed institution, like our INSA (Indian National Science Academy). He wrote a document in 1988 called the Oregon Petition, in which he called anyone with a degree to sign the petition. The report claimed that the ?proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology and damage the health and welfare of the human beings?. There is substantial evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon natural plans and animal environments of the earth.? The Guardian Weekly reported recently that Seitz printed the report in the same font and style as NAS reports that many were taken in. Before the NAS could set the matter right thousands had signed the petition.
The trail of the report led to Exxon funding. The author of the document was one Arthur B. Robinson. The report was jointly published by Robinson'sorganisation Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the George C Marshall Institute, which had received 630,000 dollars from Exxon. It was no surprise when it turned out that the chairman of the George C Marshall Institute was Frederick Seitz. This just gives a clue on how the campaigns of most NGOs work and why they pick up the causes they pick up.
Seeds prove the power of life
Seeds, kept in a notebook 200 years ago, have germinated and grown, giving hope to scientists working on the world seed bank. The book was dumped at the National Archives in London. It belonged to a Dutch merchant called Jan Teerlink. He collected these seeds on a visit to the Cape of Good Hope in 1803. He was apparently caught by the British Navy and his belongings were handed over to the Tower of London, which passed them on to the National Archives. There the notebook sat, undisturbed till curators stumbled upon it. What made the scientists happy was that the seeds in 40 packets, labeled in Latin, were kept in not-so-ideal conditions and still survived. That'sprobably the power of life.