Dave Munger Wants to Educate Charles Murray

Economy-and-Environment-Positions Blogging

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin notes Nick Stern and company's responses to critics: Stern has responded to critics of his review in a recently published postscript. There’s also a Technical Annex with a sensitivity analysis, something that both critics and those (like myself) with a generally favorable view should welcome.

Stern Review: Postscript:

Technical Annex to Postscript:

And John watches ExxonMobil change its position on global warming:

For the last few years, Exxon Mobil has been the biggest single source of support for global warming denialism, and has also exercised a lot of influence on the Bush Administration in its do-nothing stance. For a long while, Exxon was able to act through front groups like the Global Climate Coalition, but the corporation has been increasingly isolated and its activities have been exposed to public scrutiny, most notably with the open letter from the Royal Society last year.

Now Exxon has changed its position, recognising the inevitability of some sort of controls on CO2 emissions, and lobbying for a broad approach that will be relatively favourable to businesses like Exxon, rather than one tightly focused on the energy industry. At this point, an association with shills for denialism like the Competitive Enterprise Institute is counterproductive as well as being embarrassing, so they’ve been cut adrift (along with half a dozen others not yet named).

And commenters chime in:

From what I understand, there’s been an undercurrent within XOM for a while which basically said “those a------- are taking our money to tell us lies we want to hear and making us look like laughingstocks.” It was not a winning position.

New Chairman, new era. Tillerson is not Raymond, but can’t call his former boss an idiot and big ships change course slowly. They’re changing course without changing course. The ‘now the Dems are in control” line allows everyone to change without admitting anyone was wrong before.

Not that Tillerson is joining the Sierra Club. He doesn’t want the controversy or the bad media attention, or his competitors to turf XOM out of the solution space. It’s pragmatic, which is an improvement.

Posted by Exxon Exec's kid · January 14th, 2007 at 1:34 pm


For some time now, Exxon’s robust denialism has divided it from the rest of the oil industry. I recall a Wall Street Journal editorial (the gold standard, if that’s the phrase, for this kind of thing) praising Exxon for sticking to climate-change denial and deriding its competitors for bedding down with the enemy.

Interestingly, the WSJ’s news pages seem to have known this was coming from at least last September. Will the WSJ’s editorialists now heap scorn on Exxon for cooperating with environmental groups? Doesn’t there come a time when you notice that there’s no one else left in the foxhole?

Posted by jre · January 14th, 2007 at 2:21 pm....

Gee, the trolls who pop up on all the global warming threads around here are really going to be confused now. I almost feel sorry for them…

I wonder if the Bush Administration’s rumored soon-to-come about-face is the result of Cheney getting new marching orders from Exxon Mobil.

Posted by Steve LaBonne · January 14th, 2007 at 4:50 pm....

In my experience, even the least green companies harbor plenty of engineers and execs who, even if they don’t buy into environmentalism as an ideology, know which way the wind is blowing on issues such as global warming. For example, you often read that the big auto companies were merely making a PR gesture when they announced programs to develop hybrids or electrics. That may have been true at the higher levels of the companies, but the people who staffed the alternate car divisions were quite serious about producing real products on a large scale. I’ve felt for some time that pro-environmental groups should make a special effort to target the realistic people inside the corporations.

Posted by Jim Harrison · January 15th, 2007 at 1:53 am...