A bi-partisan letter from U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R – Maine) and Jay Rockefeller (D – West Virginia) pressed Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to “end any further financial assistance” to groups “whose public advocacy has contributed to the small but unfortunately effective climate change denial myth.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists will soon release a report documenting extensive financial support by the oil industry for “research groups” that deny global warming and seek to muddle the otherwise broad consensus among scientists that the climate is in fact changing. These groups do not submit their findings to the standard peer-review process for scientific research.

The Senators’ letter points to a pattern of dangerous misinformation. They explained, “We are convinced that ExxonMobil’s long-standing support of a small cadre of global climate change skeptics, and those skeptics’ access to and influence on government policymakers, have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy.”

If U.S. policy is to address the challenge posed by global climate change, it is vital for scientists to be able to conduct their research without government interference, and for their work to reach the public and policy makers without being suppressed, manipulated, or drowned out by the false claims of groups who are representing the interests of the oil lobby, not the planet.

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