Tobacco and oil pay for climate conference

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The first international conference designed to question the scientific consensus on climate change is being sponsored by a right-wing American think-tank which receives money from the oil industry.

The same group has tried to undermine the link between passive smoking and health problems and has accepted donations from a major tobacco company.

The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York appears to be a conventional exchange of ideas on the science of global warming. Yet it is organised by the Heartland Institute of Chicago, which has opposed much of the science of climate change and passive smoking.

Exxon, the oil giant, and Philip Morris, the tobacco company, have both donated money to it, although the institute is keeping its recent donations company. It is believed to be the first time that a direct link has emerged between anti-global warming sceptics funded by the oil industry and the opponents of the scientific evidence showing that passive smoking can damage people's health.

The Heartland Institute claims no money from energy companies is being used to support the conference. But one of the co-sponsors, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has received funds from Texaco.

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