Home > Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate > Is Monbiot Now A Supporter Of Big Oil?

Is Monbiot Now A Supporter Of Big Oil?

a guest blog by Geoff Chambers

George Monbiot has just published a new blog on Guardian Environment in his long-running series: “Scientists Say It’s Even Worse Than We Thought”, quoting “the world’s most sophisticated models” devised by “the world’s finest minds” as saying that global temperatures will rise 5.2C by 2100.

What makes this particular rant interesting is his source – the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model. The final paragraph of the MIT News article which Monbiot cites reads:

This work was supported in part by grants from the Office of Science of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, and by the industrial and foundation sponsors of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

And if you go to the website of the latter organisation, you discover that their industrial sponsors include Exxon, Shell, BP, and Total. So Monbiot no longer believes that being financed by Big Oil automatically taints your research results. Which is fine.

Monbiot is an intelligent man who has been known to admit in public to changing his mind before (on nuclear power and bio-fuels, for example). But it does mean that twenty years of trashing climate scepticism – on the grounds that its funding sources make it suspect – has to be thown in the bin.

I’ve made this point in the comments to the article, but I’m being heavily moderated on Comment is Free and most of my comments are refused without explanation. I invite your readers to go to Comment is Free and join in what should be an epic battle (or pub brawl, knowing Guardian Climate Change discussions).

  1. geoff chambers
    2009/05/25 at 21:18

    to alexjc38
    Yes. Thanks for your intervention. I heartily agree about Monbiot as Muskrat but didn’t dare say so, since I’ve been moderated for much less than that. You can’t depend on Guardian moderators being aware of such crucial contributions to the study of climate change as (Jansson 1954).
    One thing you learn from commenting on popular threads like Guardian Environment is not to expect any logical development of the theme. I future I think I’ll concentrate more on trying to persuade fellow sceptics to stick to the subject, and less on trying to counter the warmist ranters. I’ve just posted a comment full of praise for an excellent Monbiot article on PFI. At least it might confuse the poor fellow, if he bothers to read it.

  2. 2009/05/24 at 21:28

    I think “pub brawl” is very apt re Commentisfree, you can all but hear the smashing of glass and the thud of fists. I did chip in but being a timid soul, my contribution was just to answer the important question of which character GM would be in the Moomintroll stories.

    What I’ve noticed is that it’s very obvious when you’ve made a telling point – your opponents become almost ridiculously evasive. Your point was less about the validity of the model than it was about the double standards of George and those like him who go on about the denialist publicity machine bankrolled by Big Oil. Unless I blinked and missed it, no-one had a comeback to that, so I think your point stands!

  3. geoff chambers
    2009/05/22 at 21:54

    After posting the above blog, and after an amical discussion with Guardian moderators, my moderation was lifted, and I was able to waste the best part of two days trying to get Monbiot to reply to a simple question, frequently rephrased: how come it’s ok for him to quote approvingly from research funded by Exxon, and not for the rest of us? At one point he turned up on his own blog 4 minutes after I’d posed this question, looking for another sceptical blogger he’d previously accused of astroturfing – and promptly disappeared, like a character in a bad farce, never to be seen again.
    Meanwhile, in another part of the Guardian, the Environment Editor John Vidal popped up accusing President Klaus of the Czech Republic of accepting funding from Exxon. I asked him the same question, but received no answer, and his article, (part of his regularly weekly blog) seems now to have disappeared from Guardian Environment, like yesterday’s communiqué from the Ministry of Truth. (It can still be found by searching “Vidal” on the Guardian site).
    I was naturally disappointed by the lack of response to my questions; what I didn’t know was that, in yet another part of the sustainable forest known as Guardian Environment, someone called Trudie Styler was justifying her use of private jets to save the Amazon, with hilarious results. The beardy besandaled eco-obsessional Guardian readers were slaughtering the poor woman, and no-one was interested in my Socratic ramblings on the inconsistencies of Monbiot and Vidal. Half were sceptics congratulating her for showing up the true face of eco-correctness, and half were eco-warrors criticising her for letting the side down. One said she’d set the cause back five years,and Monbiot would have to start again from scratch. So bang goes my hopes of a tranquil retirement.

  4. Paulus
    2009/05/21 at 14:15

    You can follow the discussion at the Guardian here:


    Geoff: “The correct answer is seaweed” – oh, LOL, LOL, LOL

  1. 2012/03/21 at 00:57
  2. 2010/11/06 at 17:49

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