Economist Paul Krugman (sub.req.) in today's New York Times lays out exactly how Exxon-Mobil has tried to undermine climate research since the mid-1980s:
The people and institutions Exxon Mobil supports aren't actually engaged in climate research. They're the real-world equivalents of the Academy of Tobacco Studies in the movie "Thank You for Smoking," whose purpose is to fail to find evidence of harmful effects.
But the fake research works for its sponsors, partly because it gets picked up by right-wing pundits, but mainly because it plays perfectly into the he-said-she-said conventions of "balanced" journalism. A 2003 study, by Maxwell Boykoff and Jules Boykoff, of reporting on global warming in major newspapers found that a majority of reports gave the skeptics—a few dozen people, many if not most receiving direct or indirect financial support from Exxon Mobil—roughly the same amount of attention as the scientific consensus, supported by thousands of independent researchers.
I still haven't forgiven Exxon for the Exxon Valdez disaster (and neither have the sea otters, who are still affected). This is just one more nail.