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« The prescience of James Delingpole | Main | More AR5 hearings »

The global warmer's dilemma

Upholders of the global warming consensus have just been handed an almighty dilemma by Natural Environmental Research Council. Having spent years dismissing any results produced by sceptics as (allegedly) big oil funded and therefore untrustworthy, they are going to have to come to terms with the fact that in future a large chunk of environmental research is going to be done in collaboration with Shell.

NERC has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with multinational oil and gas company Shell.

The partnership will enable Shell to put NERC's world-leading environmental science at the heart of responsible management of our planet, by providing access to independent, objective advice and information.


Collaborating with Shell in this way will benefit NERC in a number of ways, such as helping to identify opportunities for joint funding and postgraduate training which align with both partners' requirements.

Cue outrage.

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Reader Comments (37)

Anything, and I mean anything, so long as it kills coal.

Feb 7, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

So, this was the #radicalplan?


Feb 7, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shell have been funding environmentalists for a long time. This is just another arm of their outreach to the greenies. The greenies have kept quiet about it because of the embarassment and this will not appear in the press or any shell brochures.

Feb 7, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

What right does Shell have to such access, specifically? (Even if our Business secretary used to work there). Aren’t such resources a public good?

I'd ask Alice Bell the inverse question. What right does she have to prevent Shell from having access? Aren’t such resources a public good?

Feb 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Shell have had Greens close too the top of the business for a long time. James Smith. ex Chariman of Shell UK went on to head the Carbon Trust:

It's why they haven't even tried to get into shale in the UK.

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

“If Shell needs public scientific support, we could offer it some social scientists…” Sounds like an offer Shell can’t refuse!

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

Shell was, of course, along with BP, a key early funder of UEA CRU, back in the days when they were promoting the ice age scare.

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

We don't need no steenkin' fracking....

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

It gets worse. I've just looked at the top investments of the University pension scheme, which virtually all academics are members of because it's such a good deal. Shell is number 2 and BP is 7. Then there's Nasty Nestle at 5 and BAT at 11. All UK academics are tainted by association, having a direct financial interest in these companies. I feel angry and outraged. You should too. Something should be done.

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Paul, the Toyota investment is only for the Prius, and the company assures the USS that any shipping-related CO2 or heavy metal / rare earth ingredients are specifically excluded from the shareholding.

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterstun

I must say the outrage on the Guardian site is a bit confused.
Some of them love the idea that they are warriors against Big Oil. And that therefore any disagreement must somehow be funded by said BO.

Not only is the opposite clearly the case now, it might eventually dawn on them that it has been the case all along.

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Not a problem at all , for years the magic of 'the cause ' has meant that money from 'evil fossil fuel companies ' has become cleansed of all sins by being given to promote AGW, see CRU, IPCC etc

Its the same idea as turning ordinary water into 'holy water' by mumbling some words over it .

In the name of 'the cause ' all things are acceptable .

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Where's my money? Shurely shome mistake.

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterOil-funded denier

Shell is big into natural gas, whose main competitor is coal. The more money they give to environmentalists, the more they hurt the competition. Enron did the same thing. Shell's oil production, and that of all other oil companies, is above the fray. Nothing will replace oil as a transport fuel for a long, long time, so there's no corporate harm and lots of good PR in giving greenies money to wave their big oil protest signs and scream about it.

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterNavy Bob

Money from "evil fossil fuel companies" does not just flow to activists in the form of direct grants and sponsorship. It is a large component of any government money they get, from public sector jobs or welfare, because royalties and taxes on oil & gas production are essential to the UK economy.

Feb 7, 2014 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

It's not an issue for the Greens.

Money given to nasty deniers (insignificant, but let's not worry about that) = evil, secret attempt to rape nature.

Money given to sweet Greenpeace (huge) = corporate attempt to say sorry for being so evil. It can NEVER be enough, but it should be accepted in order to diminish the money given in 1) above....

Feb 7, 2014 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

I guess for a while at least it will suddenly be deemed relatively unimportant. Like the notion of climate catastrophe this century, or of disappearing snow in the UK, or of relentlessly rising global mean air temperature, or indeed of climate sensitivity (as mumbled recently by Allen at the AR5 inquiry), or even the need to scare the living daylights out of children. They've all served the cause in their time, but then observations intervened and they all seemed a bit counter-productive after that. Now that we have even more Big Oil money going to the funding of environmental research, the idea that the source of funding is somehow more important than the discoveries being made will seem quaint.

Feb 7, 2014 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Whereas extortion-funded grants for big-scare is always to be trusted...

Feb 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

non-story Big Oil has always supported alarmists as more alarm pushes up prices which pushes up profits on the same margin.. easy choice.
BP Exxon have put billions into US university projects, Shell always tried to jump on the green bandwagon of solar PV etc.

"Tax break", I hear
I always choose integrity over greenwash when buying products

- The idea that Skeptics have received large funding from big oil has always been an unsubstantiated smear me proper evidence ! there isn't any !
- and hypocrisy .. look at the dramagreens record it comes easy to them #greensgobyair, #greensaydoasIsaynotasIdo, #greenstarsCrybutconsumeHigh
Oh there is one angle : Shell are rewarding rentacrowd protesters who were on their forcourts 8 weeks ago ?

Feb 7, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Nov 2013 Shell forecourts closed due to protest about the GreenFleece ecoterrorists who can be seen on video almost accidentally knocking Russian Oil workers into the sea, as they tried to obstruct Russian oil workers arresting rig borders by recklessly zooming their speedboat into the area , causing the Russians to open fire as a warning

With DramaGreens it's all Dirty PR & "the ends justifies the means" rules
...Paradoxically they show no conscience

Feb 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Another top Shell Green:

Lord Oxbrugh was Chairman of the board of Shell T&T

Feb 7, 2014 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Your Grace is mistaken. There is probably no dilemma as far as the Greens are concerned. Giving money to environmental organisations is something that oil companies do to try and atone for their crimes, whereas giving money given to sceptics is something that oil companies do to try and hide their crimes.

Feb 7, 2014 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

It's like the medieval knights in the UK. The very rich used to build churches and abbeys in order that they might slaughter women, children and men but still go to heaven.

Feb 7, 2014 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

"Pecunia non olet".

The Emperor Vespasian taxed the public urinals, but his less prosaic (or more prissy) son Titus said (paraphrasing), "its a tacky idea."

Vespasian held up a coin ostensibly from the collection of waste and said "does this stink"?

Titus had to answer no.

Exactly, said Vespasian, "money does not stink"...

Feb 7, 2014 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligulaJones

Oh well, that's a brand to avoid from now on. It's not just hippies who know about consumer activism.

Feb 7, 2014 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

The Met Office have been doing R&D with funding from Shell for years, see here for example.

We also do work for the mining industry.

Feb 8, 2014 at 12:43 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts

"The Met Office have been....."

When do you expect to announce your first fracking associated contract? Or maybe it is already on the "hush" books?

Feb 8, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I'm not aware of anything for the fracking industry at the moment. Don't see why it would have to be "hush" though, unless the fracking company requested it for commercial reasons.

Feb 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Coal is the natural enemy of Big Oil (and Gas). The Greens are the natural ally of Big Oil (and Gas) as the Greens and the Cartels cannot control the price of coal as it is too widely spread. There is enough Coal to outlast CAGW, Big Oil (and Gas) and the Greens. Long Live King Coal.

Feb 8, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

Big Oil buying off the Enviromentalists

Feb 8, 2014 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Green Sand,
I guess the frackers will be in and out so fast they'll only need the Met Office to help plan their holidays.

Feb 8, 2014 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

More linkage is
This starts in Australia, ends citing this BH article.

I forgot to post a link here last night.

Feb 8, 2014 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Channon

After the Rio+20 conference in 2012 the governments did very little.

The businesses, however, changed. They began to accept that climate change was happening. Since then the funding for lobbyists has been dropped and the money has gone into planning for business in a warmer world.

Shell have plans for Arctic oil exploration. The better the Arctic climate changes are understood, the better their chances. Investing in climate research makes good business sense.

Feb 8, 2014 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

After the Rio+20 conference in 2012 the governments did very little.

The businesses, however, changed.

"Big Oil" was on the Green bandwagon long before 2012. I do jobs for all the majors now and then and I can't see anything that changed in 2012 so I don't know what you're referring to there..

Feb 9, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Breaking news prediction for (say) 2024?
NERC research says that fracking has been good for the environment.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Macdonald

Has there been a subtle editing of the original NERC page since the Bish's quote above?
The NERC link now appears to say:

NERC has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global energy company Shell.

(so, not a "multinational oil and gas company" then.)

The arrangement will enable Shell to use NERC's world-leading environmental science to help reduce the environmental impact of their operations and projects by providing access to independent, objective advice and information.

(so, now it's not a partnership, but an "arrangement" to "help reduce the environmental impact" and not so much "at the heart of responsible management of our planet")

Feb 16, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaven

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Feb 21, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterjemserider

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