Speaking in London yesterday, Kenneth Cohen, vice-president of public affairs for Exxon, told journalists that the company had been misunderstood: 'Our company has been put in this bucket of not taking the climate issue seriously and that is flat wrong...Those who meet with us understand we are not a denier.'
But Cohen refused to confirm whether funding would be withheld from some of the most controversial groups, including the Heartland Insitute, which describes climate change as the product of 'junk science, and the George C Marshall Institute, which promotes continued scepticism about the contribution of human emissions to global warming.
Retaliating against Exxon's vilification by Greenpeace, Cohen said that some of the environmental group's facts were 'just flat wrong' and 'absurd'.
'For you to suggest we should stop funding all groups and Greenpeace to cherry-pick which groups we can fund or not, I reject that,' Cohen retorted.
Exxon now support a federal carbon market in the use to trade carbon quotas, but remain opposed to the Kyoto treaty or its successor.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist June 2007