Business Funding Express: Some Answers

Chris asks…

Which oil companies is it okay to accept funding from?

In another question I linked to a site ( which listed various studies on the Medieval Warm Period. I was criticised for this choice of site as it has accepted funding from Exxon (which i already knew, having checked Sourcewatch).

From what I can gather, the criticism is that any organisation which accepts funding from a big oil company is, by that very fact, dubious. Now, I’m not sure that’s particularly true (it may just be that the company feels that the organisation’s efforts or research is likely to coincide with its own) but if that’s the case, then what about the research from the Climate Research Unit and the Tyndall Centre who as we now know have approached Shell for funding, as the email below shows:


Mick Kelly and Aeree Kim (CRU, ENV) met with Robert Kleiburg (Shell International’s climate change team) on July 4th primarily to discuss access to Shell information as part of Aeree’s PhD study (our initiative) and broader collaboration through postgrad. student project placements (their initiative), but Robert was also interested in plans for the Tyndall Centre (TC). What ensued was necessarily a rather speculative discussion with the following points emerging.

Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a ‘strategic partnership’ with the TC, broadly equivalent to a ‘flagship alliance’ in the TC proposal. A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.

Shell’s interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to ‘real-world’ activities. They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM.

Robert seemed to be more interested in supporting overseas (developing world) than home/EU studentships, presumably because of the credit abroad and their involvement in CDM. (It is just possible this impression was partially due to the focus on Aeree’s work in the overall discussion but I doubt it.) It seems likely that any support for studentships would be on a case by case basis according to the particular project in question.

Finally, we agreed that we would propose a topic to this year’s MSc intake as a placement with Shell and see if any student expressed interest. If this comes off we can run it under the TC banner if it would help.

I would suggest that Robert and his boss are invited to the TC launch at the very least (assuming it will be an invite type affair). Question is how can we and who should take this a step further. Maybe a meeting at Shell with business liaison person, Mike H if time and myself if time? I’d like to/am happy to stay involved through the next stage but then will probably have to back off.

We didn’t cover the new renewable energy foundation.

Mick Kelly

11 September 2000″”

What “role in setting the research agenda” did Shell get, and why is it not a problem that the Tyndall Centre accepts money from Shell, BP and other oil companies, and lets them shape the “research agenda” but when a website accepts a donation from an oil company, then any study it so much as refers to is suspect? Double standards?
EDIT – @ Don’t Panic. You wrote:

“”It’s a question of the driving force behind the research. Who wants the research to be done and for what purpose. “”

~ So it’s okay for the CRU to take money from those nice people at Shell because their intentions are pure? (Like justifying emissions trading, eh?)

The driving force behind my question? I want to understand why some people feel its fine for big oil companies to have a role in shaping the research agenda (when it’s clear that their only motivation is making money from emissions trading) when the research agrees with what they believe.

But when the an oil company funds research or a site that says stuff they disagree with, all of sudden that connection means we can’t believe any of it.
EDIT @ Dawei

Good point. I should of included a link to a cached copy of the (now deleted) CRU History page at the University of East Anglia.

As you will see, Shell, BP – and Greenpeace – are listed amongst their sources of funding (scroll to bottom of page for list).

admin answers:

First of all, even if a “scientific” group is directly funded by a fossil fuel industry, although it brings their motives and biases into question, their actual research still warrants assessment for its own merits.

The problem is that the argument doesn’t hold up under even simple scrutiny. That various isolated geographic locations were warmer during some timeframe between 800-1300 AD than they are now is not controversial. When you cherrypick those locations and make a qualitative rather than quantitative argument that the MWP was warmer than today, that’s where your argument fails.

If the MWP were warmer than today, a *global* temperature reconstruction would show it. There has been no such reconstruction published in any peer-reviewed journal. If the folks at co2science wanted to claim otherwise, the correct process would be to put together a paper and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. The reason they don’t is because they don’t have a scientific leg to stand on. They’re using an uncontroversial set of data to make a false conclusion that it does not support.

You might wonder why they would do such a thing – what their motives are. And perhaps their funding from Exxon has something to do with it. But regardless, the bottom line is that their data doesn’t support their conclusion.

As for Shell funding a student research program, personally I think the difference is obvious. Providing millions of dollars of funding to an organization which solely makes AGW “skeptic” arguments vs. Funding a student research program – if you can’t see the difference, you have your denial blinders on.

*edit* bravozulu jumps in with the strawman claim “Exxon tends to give a little more money to Republicans”

I know you can’t differentiate between science and politics, but we’re not talking about Republicans, we’re talking about right-wing think tanks and other purportedly scientific groups. Exxon has to document its donations, and records show they’ve given tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to these AGW denial groups.

Susan asks…

Is it fair for my husband to make me a signer on his business account?

I recently quit my job to help my husband with his business. He is mad at me because I told him I want to get another job to help me feel more secure. I told him I don’t expect him to put me on his business account as a signer, but I feel that would be the fair thing to do. He told me he didn’t think it was right because I did not want him on my personal accounts or credit card accounts because if his ex wife tries to take him to court or reports him to attorney general it will affect me if he is on my account or if we file taxes together.

Yesterday I found out that he made a substantially large late child support payment(for only two months) and alimony to his ex wife ($ he said he wasn’t going to pay her because she left over $5000 in bills at that other house in his name after they divorced) and then came to me and said there was no money in the business account, did I have more credit or could use of money I can use to pay a business expense. So I paid it. Then I paid a late gas bill after pulling money from my savings, to keep the gas from getting shut off, because I had no money in my checking account. All he had to do was wait one week for more money to come in.

This is not the first time this has happened, where I have had to come up with funds to pay his business expenses even when I was working another job.

The last time I tried to pay my credit card online for his account they returned the payment because I was making a payment from a account that I am not an authorized signer on.

Now he wants a divorce because I expressed all of this to him. He said he refuses to put me on the business account.

I have handled all paperwork to obtain large contracts for his business for almost a year, I organize all paperwork for the contracts,and submit invoices so his company can get paid.
I am now holding hostage the complete proposal for another very large contract that he wants to get for the business. He now has to come up with all the information himself, and in no way can he do the job he was so complementing me on the other day for doing with it.

The following is a break down of what I have contributed to his business in the way of loans and what he has payed me:

· He agreed to pay me $800/mo for help with the business

The following are payments for work made to me:

8/5/09 $5000 ($4200- bonus/$800-for work done july 2009)

9/29/09 $1600 ($800-for work done august/$800 for work done September)

1/13/2010 $500 (for work done October???)

If agreement if fulfilled balance due is $2700.

· I have contributed personal funds from checking, savings and credit accounts to his business for business expenses

The following are loan reimbursements paid to me:

$1040 (from personal checking)

7/3/2009 $600 (from personal checking)

01/15/2010 $200 (from credit cards

2/8/2010 $10,000 (from credit cards)

If all loans are payed back balance due is $504.

From June 2009 to February 2010 I have loaned a total of $8817 for his business expenses.

$2645 credit card

$4292 credit card

$200 reversal fees, over limit fees and portion of finance charges due to payments being returned when trying to pay from business account

$40 from personal checking

$1040 from personal checking

$600 from personal checking
So its right to put my good credit in jeopardy because of his bad financial habits. That’s not right. His credit is shot, but I am the one being selfish. He is benefiting from my good credit when I pay for business expenses and have to wait a while to get them back and not even get paid for the work I am doing to help him bring in money to help pay for our living expenses and his child support too.
Besides this our problems are so much deeper than this. I am tired of lied to, manipulated, verbally and emotionally abused, and used.
Its over

admin answers:

Well from a business standpoint, it doesn’t seem right that you two should be going “Dutch” on the finances.

However, if you were a signer on his business account, and the company owed taxes, unemployment compensation taxes, workers compensation premiums, quarterly payments for employee withholding and such. Well if he’s this screwy with his business, you’d be a control person in the business right?

Well if the business owes taxes and you sign on the account — they’ll come after you for the money.

So let’s cut to the chase. Maybe just give him what he wants, and thank God you aren’t liable for the stuff you don’t know about.

As far as divorce? Well how many ex-wives does he want to pay money to? Seriously.

Okay now to solve your problem: Get marriage counseling. Start working on both your behaviors.

He has to stop being financially irresponsible and you need to get a real job to bring in real money, or, he has to make you a real partner in the business and put the finances in your hands.

This is a major trust issue thing, and it seems to me he’s afraid of what you might find out and then … Use against you. Hence the threat of the divorce.

The numbers you just listed above, don’t mean much to me. I’m not quantifying anything. But I am looking at the quality of your relationship and it seems to be too much business and not enough marital pleasure. In other words, he needs to start loving his wife, trusting his wife and maybe let her help him out the right way.

Richard asks…

Should the U.S. be in the business of promoting Human Rights, for LGBTs no less? That’s just unConservative?

Obama tells US officials to use overseas aid to promote gay rights

Barack Obama ‘deeply concerned’ by human rights abuses around the world as he urges agencies to fight discrimination

Hillary Clinton told an audience in Geneva: ‘It should never be a crime to be gay.’ Photograph: Sebastien Feval/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama has told US officials to consider how countries treat its gay and lesbian populations when making decisions about allocating foreign aid.

In the first ever US government strategy to deal with human rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens abroad, a presidential memo issued on Tuesday instructs agencies using foreign aid to promote such rights.

Gay and lesbian lobby groups have reported an increase in human rights abuses across Africa and parts of the Middle East.

President Obama is among international leaders who have condemned a bill proposed in Uganda which would make some homosexual acts a crime punishable by death. The Ugandan parliament has recently re-opened the debate on the bill, which had been abandoned after an international outcry.

In the memo, Obama said: “I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world, whether it is passing laws that criminalise LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”

He said that the struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons was central to America’s commitment to promoting human rights.

As part of a series of measures, the State Department will urge aid agencies to deliver “swift and meaningful” responses to serious incidents that threaten the human rights of LGBT people abroad, he said.

US agencies are specifically directed to combat the criminalisation of LGBT status or conduct abroad, protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, and engage international organisations in the fight against discrimination. The memo instructs agencies to report on progress within 180 days.

It remains unclear whether countries that discriminate against gay people and lesbians would have their funding cut. However, the memo instructs diplomatic and aid agencies to bring pressure to bear on such countries.

The latest State Department report is critical of several countries, including US allies such as Saudi Arabia, over their treatment of gay people.

In a speech in Geneva to mark international human rights day, secretary of state Hillary Clinton backed the presidential directive.

“I am not saying gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes,” she said. “They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable. But it should never be a crime to be gay.”

Clinton had previously called for greater protection of sexual minorities and the safety of those seeking asylum. In June this year, she welcomed a UN resolution on equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

The UN Human Rights Council, which expresses “grave concern” for violence and discrimation against individuals because of their sexual orientation, passed the resolution by a narrow margin, despite string objections from countries.

While the US, the European Union and Brazil backed the effort, the move drew strong criticism from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Pakistan among others.

In October this year, USAID – the US government agency providing economic and humanitarian assistance around the world – announced that it “strongly encourages” businesses contracted with USAID to go beyond non-discrimination protections, to prohibit job bias for LGBT employees and other workers.

The 10 countries granted the greatest economic and military assistance from the US – according to USAID – are Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, West Bank/Gaza, Ethiopia, Kenya and Colombia.

admin answers:


We should promote human rights for all human beings.

The Catholic Church teaches that the basic Human Rights are:
• The right to life, from conception to natural death
• The right to live in a united family
• The right to develop oneself in a moral environment
• The right to develop one’s intelligence
• The right to seek and know the truth
• The right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s resources
• The right to support one’s family
• The right to establish a family
• The right to religious freedom

For more information see the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:

With love in Christ.

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