Global warming is partially responsible for a decades-old oil spill that happened after an Exxon Mobil tanker hit a barrier reef, according to a Los Angeles Times report funded in part by liberal billionaire George Soros.
The LA Times published a wide-ranging piece Thursday suggesting climate change laid the groundwork for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, a disaster that eventually dumped more than 10 million gallons of crude off the coast of Alaska. Higher than normal water temperatures near Prince William Sound caused ice bergs to chip off the Columbia Glacier and force the ship into uncharted territory.
Floating chunks of ice forced the tanker out of its primary shipping lane, the paper noted. It veered off and crashed into the Bligh Reef, causing Exxon more than $3.4 billion through 2008 in cleanup costs and court settlements.
Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project, the group that conducted the paper’s report, was also involved in an investigation last November targeting Exxon’s climate change research. Thursday’s report dovetails with the group’s previous investigations showing the oil company hid knowledge about climate change from the public for years.
“For the two decades following the Exxon Valdez disaster, the company worked quietly to safeguard its operations and infrastructure against steadily rising sea levels and thawing permafrost,” The LA Times wrote. “Yet in public, it vociferously fought regulations and policies that would have limited fossil fuel emissions while publicly questioning the science behind climate change.”
Some climate scientists believe the LA Times is taking a leap of faith.
Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, for one, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “ice always calves off glaciers, because snow falls on the mountains, and the ice flows downhill — no global warming needed.”
There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for why ice bergs were cleaving off glaciers at the time of the Valdez disaster, he said, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with man-made global warming.
“If the Columbia Glacier was calving more in the 1980s, it’s most likely because the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) flipped in the late 1970s, which caused it to suddenly warm in Alaska,” Spencer added, referencing an El Nino-like weather pattern that commonly affects the area the oil spill.
What happened to the Valdez is no different than what happened to the Titanic, he said, referring to the passenger ship that hit an iceberg in 1912, which killed thousands of people heading to New York from England.
Several wealthy philanthropic groups such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF), and the Open Society Foundations bankrolled large portions of the LA Times’ report. Soros is the director and founder of Open Society and has financed climate crusades in the past.
RFF has single-handedly financially propped up the anti-Exxon campaign. It also pressured various attorneys general into investigating Exxon, namely for the purposes of bringing the company up on racketeering charges.
The only way to target Exxon for hiding climate change research was to request the New York AGs office to open an investigation into the company, David Kaiser and Lee Wasserman, directors of RFF, wrote in an editorial for New York Books.
The LA Times, for its part, has failed in the past to disclose its ties with RFF.
Wasserman wrote an op-ed in January for the California paper, fleshing out specifics about the probes into Exxon’s climate research. The paper disclosed the Wasserman’s financial contributions to the investigation, but falsely suggested RFF had nothing to do with the investigations.
“The Fund has made grants to the Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and InsideClimate News, but has no involvement in articles they produce,” the paper’s disclosure notes.
The disclosure implies RFF did not actively participate in the investigations, which were first reported by environmental media group, InsideClimate News and the LA Times last November.
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