Friday, February 02, 2007

Anybody need $10,000?

I am by no means an expert when it comes to climate change, so I will leave the more technical posts for my fellow geoblogofolks (see the sidebar). What I would like to point out is something Mrs. Apparent-Dip-but-with-a-different-last-name (mad props) told me about and was reported on CNN Money. Turns out that in response to the IPCC report, ExxonMobil has offered some climate scientists $10,000 for critiques of the conclusions (which, for the bajillionth time in the past decade state very clearly that humans are causing climate change). Now of course oil industry funding in the earth sciences is nothing new, after all, geologists do plenty of oil finding. What I think is unique in this case, and disturbing, is the predetermination of the outcome. I know plenty of people doing industry funded studies, I am sure it is common in other branches of science as well, but when is that conditional on the outcome. Sounds very wild west to me, "Look, there's a bounty on that thar climate report! Wanted, dead or alive!" But, on the plus side, if funding is tight, perhaps I can convince them that apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronology proves the earth is cooling, out of control cooling, my latest data says we are heading to runaway global cooling, straight into snowball earth! OK, it doesn't, but 10 grand could set me up at a sweet hotel for GSA. This is disappointing news considering recent good signs from the same company.


C W Magee said...

Of course Exxon is used to dictating outcomes to geologists. Would they be where they are today if they paid geos who drill dry wells the same as those who find gushers?

Thermochronic said...

Hmm, not sure if that is a true analogy. It would be more like being given money in order to report a field is productive, instead of showing if it is productive.