Academic Oil

Apr 06 2009

It’s great that money is beginning to flow to universities to solve climate problems with technological innovation. But this is only part of the solution because carbon levels need to be reduced immediately rather than at some future date when technology may become available. Since the 1970s when the Carter administration began pushing for energy alternatives, it has been the oil sector that has bought many promising patents, only to sit on them and continue their enormous oil revenues. It is with some skepticism, therefore, that one must view the launch of a new climate research project at Stanford, paid for by Exxon-Mobil.

For example “Due to inconsistencies in G-CEP and Exxon research project goals, a management committee formed by the sponsoring corporations can approve or reject research topics proposed by Stanford researchers.”

Is this science or an offshoot of Exxon-Mobil engineering? If scientists are not permitted to follow directions that may not be profitable for Exxon-Mobil, the value of this initiative begins to enter into the terrain of greenwashing.

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