Sponsors listed on a sign at the AGU Fall Meeting, 14-18 December 2015. Spnsors included ExonMobil and Chevron. The continued acceptance of corporate sponsorship from oil companies appears deeply inconsistent with AGU's own organizational support policy. Photo: UCS

23 September 2016 (Desdemona Despair) – In spite of widespread condemnation from scientists, the Board of Directors of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has decided to continue accepting corporate sponsorship from ExxonMobil. Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote earlier this month:

To many AGU member scientists, and others, AGU’s continued acceptance of corporate sponsorship from ExxonMobil, a company with a long and well-documented track record of climate science misinformation, appears deeply inconsistent with this policy. Over the past year, the AGU board reviewed and rejected multiple requests to sever funding ties with ExxonMobil in light of its new policy. But they have also announced that they intend to revisit this question at the AGU board meeting later this month.

So, one of the premier scientific organizations for Earth science remains resolute in its acceptance of money from a documented source of antiscience.

Online criticism is withering, but apparently futile.

Geoffrey Supran – Speaking as a young AGU member, this is disgraceful and perplexing. The AGU's doubling-down on Exxon sponsorship flatly ignores evidence of Exxon's ongoing support of misinformation, which itself flatly violates AGU's own sponsorship policy. Perhaps that is why AGU's announcement offers zero explanation for its decision.

David Thomson – This is so unreal, and so disappointing. Previously, if f I had been asked to name organizations I would never have expected this level of hypocrisy from on such an issue, AGU would have been the second one I came up with. Simply unbelievable.

Beth Holland – Dear President Leinen and AGU board members: As a life member of AGU and a member from a developing country, I strongly disagree with continuing to accept funds from an organization with a demonstrable record of scientific disinformation. Being a scientist with requires the integrity to look at the data and tell the story it reveals. In protest against AGU's decision I am abstaining from voting for any board members and will not be attending any AGU meetings this year. As the daughter of an exploration geologist I am well aware of the need to engage in constructive dialogue with clear boundaries. The AGU decision does not represent an organization that leads with by example with integrity. I could not be more disappointed.

Tommy Owens – I have already resigned from my AGU Life membership. I cannot support this decision. [more]

By Margaret Leinen, President, American Geophysical Union and Eric Davidson, President-elect, American Geophysical Union
23 September 2016

(AGU) – Last week the AGU Board of Directors discussed the organization’s April decision to continue engagement with ExxonMobil after receiving additional information from several sources. The Board maintained its original decision after another careful and systematic review of hundreds of pages of both newly provided and previous documentation and a thoughtful and comprehensive discussion. We thank all those who made their voices heard.

AGU has always valued open dialogue and exchange of ideas, and we believe this decision best reflects AGU’s unique value to the scientific community: our ability to convene scientists of diverse views and from different backgrounds, disciplines, and industries. With membership spanning all Earth and space sciences, AGU has an increasingly important role to play – building on our recognized convening power – in providing a space for active, vibrant dialogue that advances collective scientific understanding of the world and our place within it. This is an important function and strategic goal of our organization as scientific issues continue to be top-of-mind for the public and legislators alike and as places for thoughtful discussion of diverging viewpoints become increasingly rare. We remain, as always, committed to cultivating a space that is inclusive to scientists working across all sectors of society in service of exceptional scientific research and discovery.

We welcome your questions and comments via comments on this blog post or by direct email to President@AGU.org.

UPDATE: AGU Board Maintains Its Decision Regarding ExxonMobil


  1. Anonymous said...

    I am shocked—shocked—to find scientists and their professional organizations in bed with big business! Who are they kidding. Scientists as objective arbiters of reality - spare us!  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Nothing like a stupid straw argument to downgrade the discussion.  


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