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Politics as Usual: Oil Companies Pretend Interest in Global Warming
by Vanessa Ryan
Vanessa Ryan is a real estate broker, stock trader, and corporate recruiter.

Most oil and gas companies are embracing the idea that they need to be on the cutting edge of greenhouse technology, despite earlier attempts to distance themselves from the concept of global warming. In fact, some are funding university research projects to develop these technologies, and are exploring ways to address the problems of global warming.

Since 1991, oil and gas companies have invested almost $800 million in university research programs, spread over nine major universities. Institutions such as M.I.T., Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley have extensive research agreements with the oil and gas industry.

Some have questioned the extent of industry involvement in these programs, citing their ties threaten the academic freedom of the researchers and the integrity of the research itself. Others believe these programs are little more than Big Oil's attempt to manage its public relations image, because there is still much more to be done. Oil companies generally spend 20 times more for searching and exploiting new oil reserves than they do for researching ways to create alternative fuels, lowering greenhouse gases, or increasing the efficiency standards of their products. But this trend is likely to be reversed in the future because of the inevitability of a political climate that will demand change.

Published: Jul 14,2008 17:33
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