Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exxon's pathetic attempt at a PR campaign

If you've watched TV over the past month, you'll have seen Exxon's latest efforts to explain itself to the public. This is to be welcomed, because it's more honest than sending money to Myron Ebell to lie on their behalf. When Exxon reports things about itself in its own name, the public is able to attribute the information with the proper degree of skepticism it deserves.

So they hired some sexy PR firm to tell the public about the good things they do for the environment. Problem is, it's a tough job, because they haven't done anything good for the environment. If they had, they might have come up with slightly better examples than:
"Two thousand years ago [the Romans] probably never imagined people would be going past [these ruins of their collapsed empire] at 50kph [on a fossil fuel burning vehicle], just like we can't predict what we will be driving in the future [(how about cars?)]. That's why we are developing thermoplastic car body parts that are... recyclable [as required by law], so we can keep things (pause) moving forward [to our own civilization's collapse]. I'm Marina Anglani, and I work for ExxonMobil [as a sexy actress in a red helmet]."
They have another ad about their low-sulpher diesel, which is also done because of environmental regulations and not, as Exxon would lead you to believe, because they are a good company who gives a pair of fetid dingoes kidneys for "the common good".

Under "minimizing out impact on the environment", their astonishing statement is:
"why not take wastes that woulod end up in landfills... and recycle them so they end up as roads"
It's called fly-tipping. Everyone knows you can get the benefits of toxic waste much quicker if you spread it on paths.

Exxon does have some pages on climate science, whose conclusions they claim -- falsely -- "rely on expert judgment rather than objective, reproducible statistical methods."

To show how earnestly this 450 billion dollar company contributes to science, they exhibit a list of 40 papers, including conference procedings between 1983 and 2005, every one of which was coauthored or "contributed to" by Kheshgi, H. S, or Flannery, B. P. There are no downloadable copies of these papers so we can check them out, and many are about CO2 sequestration and the manufacture of biofuels, with little of relevance to the existance of climate change. Since climate change can't make Exxon money, they can't support it. This flimsy page stands as a living proof from the most profitable company in the world that corporate funds will never be adequate for the conduct of science.

Finally I found the button marked: "Ask us a question", which took me to a page of 4000 words in a light gray font entitled:
This ought to be interesting. I'll bet no one else reads it; they just click the "I Accept" button at the very bottom, thus permiting idiotic lawyers to argue that everyone who has done so has read, understood, and is bound by every word of it. Even if it's an established cultural tradition not to have read it.

Most of the text is pointless because it restates the law, which you are bound by anyway, but it's there to put you off from asking any questions. There are some choice bits, however:
You agree that use of any information obtained via the Site or Services is at your own risk... ExxonMobil does not... warrant that the functions or Services contained in the Site will be... error-free, that defects will be corrected, or... [for its content's] correctness, accuracy, adequacy, usefulness, timeliness, reliability or otherwise.

ExxonMobil shall not be liable to you or any other party for any compensatory, punitive, special or consequential damages that result from the... contents on this Site... even if ExxonMobil has been advised of the possibility of such damages.
This means if the information is intended to hasten the end of civilization as we know it on this planet, that's fine with them. The conditions continue:
You may not link to this site without prior written permission from ExxonMobil...

And my favourite:
If you are dissatisfied with any portion of the Site or the Services or with any of these terms, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue using the Site and the Services.
No it isn't. I can also link to it and show people what a pile of crap it is. The Myron Ebell Climate doesn't have the resources to conduct such a campaign properly, but a good example of how it's done can be seen here.

Finally I got through to the feedback form and wrote my question
Dear Exxon,

What does Philip Cooney, the man who resigned from the White House in June 2005 after he was caught falsifying scientific climate reports, do and why was he hired by Exxon a day after he quit his job? Do you really think your PR campaigns can achieve anything until you start to account for the publically known allegations of dirty dealing in the field of climate change policy?
I don't suppose it matters to them that their PR campaign is a flop. They're making money and instructing the government not to move any policies that would diminish their profits. Nothing else matters.


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