Politico Omits Glaring Cases of Bias and Credibility Issues in Climate Attribution Story

Right on cue, activists have placed a climate attribution story in Politico yesterday as the trial between the New York Attorney General and ExxonMobil begins in New York. As Energy In Depth noted yesterday, the trial isn’t even about the much vaunted – but thoroughly underwhelming – “Exxon Knew” PR campaign. Nor is it even about climate change. It’s an accounting case about how the company applied proxy costs of carbon to its investment decisions.

But with their legal strategy falling flat on its face, activists are already trying a new angle of attack before the trial even begins in an attempt to save face – climate attribution. Simply put, climate attribution is the theory that an exact amount of carbon and methane emissions can be “attributed” to certain energy companies and therefore those companies can be linked to specific weather events that are blamed on climate change.

Unsurprisingly, Politico terms this work “attribution science” in an attempt to give it academic credibility, but the truth is that it wasn’t born out of objective research. It was organized by activist Richard Heede, who features prominently in the story as a supposedly impartial researcher but has admitted that he began studying climate attribution because he wanted to “confront” fossil fuel companies, and he has generated research at the request of plaintiff’s attorney Vic Sher looking to link emissions with specific companies.

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