A recent statement by evangelical Christians downplaying the potential problems of global climate change includes eight signers whose six organizations have received a total of $2.32 million in donations from ExxonMobil over the last three years.
Released by the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA) on July 25, the statement was signed by 113 evangelicals and 19 non-evangelicals in response to a February statement released by the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI).
The ECI statement, signed by 86 evangelical Christian leaders, argues that humans are responsible for much of climate change and that actions should be taken to prevent it. The ISA statement, on the other hand, argues that humans have little impact, that climate change is unlikely to occur and if it does will not be all harmful, and that prevention now will be more costly than adaptation later.
The ISA statement claims that scientific research is not conclusive on the issue as the ECI document stated, and that much research suggests climate change will be minor or nonexistent. However, many of the signers of the document lead or work for organizations that have received donations from ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil and gas company.
In all, ExxonMobil’s gave $715,000 in 2005 to organizations with singers of the ISA document. Following is a list of organizations, the amount of funding they received from ExxonMobil in 2005, and the individuals from the organizations that signed the ISA statement.
–The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty; $50,000; Research Fellow Jay W. Richard.
–American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; $240,000; Visiting Fellow Kenneth Green and Weyerhauser Fellow Steven F. Hayward.
–Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; $25,000; President Sherwood B. Idso and Chairman Craig D. Idso.
–Competitive Enterprise Institute; $270,000; President Fred L. Smith, Jr.
–Congress of Racial Equality; $75,000; Senior Policy Advisor (energy and environment) Paul K. Driessen. (Drissen was one of the four authors of the ISA statement.)
–The NationalCenter for Public Policy Research; $55,000; Vice-President David Ridenour.
These six organizations have received funding from ExxonMobil in previous years as well. In 2004, they received a combined $740,000 (the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Changes did not receive any that year). In 2003, they received $865,000. For the three year period of 2003-2005, these six organizations received a total of $2.32 million from ExxonMobil.
Another signer of the ISA statement is Donald Paul Hodel, former U. S. Secretary of Energy and U. S. Secretary of the Interior for President Ronald Reagan, and former president of the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family. Hodel also co-wrote Crisis in the Oil Patch: How America’s Energy Industry is Being Destroyed and What Must Be Done to Save It, which argues for less regulation of the oil and gas industry.
Two other signers of the ISA statement have been connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal: Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Toward Tradition. Critics of the ECI statement previously argued that the organization should not be trusted because it accepted donations from the Hewlett Foundation, which has also contributed to Planned Parenthood.
Southern Baptist signers of the ISA statement included: Gregg Allison of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, James Borland of Liberty University, Kent Chambers of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Reginald Ecarma of North Greenville University, Gary Gray of Southwest Baptist University, Michael Salazar of Union University, Gregory Thornbury of Union University, and David Whitlock of Southwest Baptist University.
Southern Baptist signers of the ECI statement included: David Clark of Palm Beach Atlantic University, David Dockery of Union University, Douglas Hodo of Houston Baptist University, Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School, David Gushee of Union University, Lee Royce of Mississippi College, and Pat Taylor of Southwest Baptist University.
Brian Kaylor is communications specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Missouri.
Brian Kaylor is editor and president of Word&Way, associate director of Churchnet, and a contributing editor for EthicsDaily.com.