....for Rex Tillerson, the new chairman of ExxonMobil, who has reversed the company's previous denial of the existence of man-made global warming and instead has endorsed a carbon tax of the kind favoured by Al Gore to combat it. This U-turn by the leader of the world's largest oil company has surprised those who have watched it fund lobbyists to rubbish the science behind global warming and climate change. However, it is probable that Mr Tillerson has recognised that, since global warming is a reality and carbon emissions cause it, ExxonMobil would be well advised to be involved in the many negotiations taking place before the all-important UN Copenhagen Conference on the subject in December.

ExxonMobil's change of heart was immediately dismissed by Greenpeace, the company's severest critic in the past, on the grounds that it may be intended to move opinion against the cap-and-trade control system which Europe favours. Perhaps so - but first things first. The immense influence and resources of ExxonMobil have been moved from denying the existence of global warming to supporting the fight against it.

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