View Full Version : New Book On Environment Under Trump by Dick Russell; forward by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Peter Lemkin
05-03-2017, 08:52 AM
Few know that Dick Russell besides being one of the very best JFK researchers and writers writes about the environment. He has just completed a book on the current crop of anti-environmental muckamucks in D.C. and the Corporations....and what it means for the Planet and all life on it.....

The science is overwhelming; the facts are in. The planet is heating up at an alarming rate and the results are everywhere to be seen. Yet, as time runs out, climate progress is blocked by the men who are profiting from the burning of the planet: energy moguls like the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Powerful politicians like Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe, who receive massive contributions from the oil and coal industries. Most of these men are too intelligent to truly believe that climate change is not a growing crisis. And yet they have put their profits and careers ahead of the health and welfare of the world’s population—and even their own children and grandchildren. How do they explain themselves to their offspring, to the next generations that must deal with the environmental havoc that these men have wreaked? Horsemen of the Apocalypse takes a personal look at this global crisis, literally bringing it home.



“When in the near future the climate implodes and misery envelops the planet, you will know the criminals against humanity who were most directly and personally responsible from [Horsemen of the Apocalypse].” ―Ross Gelbspan, author The Heat Is On and Boiling Point “Dick Russell and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., have brilliantly laid bare the horsemen of the apocalypse and their cronies who are now steering the American ship of state and are bent on committing hara-kiri on the agreements, agencies, and regulations that are a bulwark against their own country’s and the world’s plunge into disaster.” ―Homero Aridjis, Mexican poet, novelist, ambassador, and environmental activist; president emeritus of PEN International "As the impacts of climate change grow increasingly visible in our daily lives, so must our understanding of the forces that are conspiring to stop actions to mitigate those impacts. This book lays bare how those forces, borne largely of self interest, are trying to make sure the US continues to add to global carbon pollution, the primary factor in climate change. With the new Trump administration trying to roll back president Obama's actions, this is a timely and essential read for everyone concerned. " --Margo Oge, author of Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars “This may be the most important book yet on the climate crisis . . . and by the way, it’s fun to read. Dick Russell’s keen research and sharp writing unpacks the complex sordid tale of fossil fuel corporations and their henchmen, from the Koch brothers to Exxon to Peabody coal, who have systematically held us back from solving climate change, using denial, deception, and ruthless power.” ―Kert Davies, director, Climate Investigations Center “In Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Dick Russell lays out the lies and cover-ups of some of the men―including ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson and the Koch brothers―who have been hell-bent on amassing fortunes by exploiting fossil fuels, even while knowing that this exploitation would likely destroy civilization.” ―David Ray Griffin, author of Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? “Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a mind-opening exposé of the roots and branches of fossil fuel zealots, their campaigns of misinformation, and the rebellion of their descendants. It shows how the misuse of wealth and power can undermine democracy, threaten the health of the planet, and neglect our moral responsibility to future generations.”―Sheldon Krimsky, PhD, Lenore Stern Professor of Humanities & Social Sciences, adjunct professor of public health and community medicine, Tufts University, and author of Stem Cell Dialogues: A Philosophical & Scientific Inquiry into Medical Frontiers

About the Authors

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the board president of the Waterkeeper Alliance and author of several books, including Framed and the New York Times bestseller Crimes Against Nature. He has been named by Time as one of the “Heroes for the Planet.” Kennedy lives in Los Angeles, California and Bedford, New York.

Dick Russell born and raised in the Midwest, is the eclectic author of thirteen books. His latest is "Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth - And What It Means to Our Children." Four books co-authored with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura spent weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list. "Eye of the Whale" was named among the best books of 2001 by three major newspapers. "The Man Who Knew Too Much," about a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, was hailed as "a masterpiece of historical reconstruction" by Publisher's Weekly. "Striper Wars: An American Fish Story," recounts the fight to save the Atlantic striped bass. As an environmental activist, Russell has been the recipient of many awards.

Magda Hassan
05-03-2017, 01:38 PM
Few know that Dick Russell besides being one of the very best JFK researchers and writers writes about the environment.

No. I didn't know this. I do look forward to reading this book if he brings to it any thing like the same quality as he brings to his JFK research and writing

Peter Lemkin
05-03-2017, 04:27 PM
Just got word from Dick R. that he will be on RT-TV today [rebroadcast for some days and available on their website for a while too] on the show 'Watching The Hawks' with Bobby Kennedy Jr. talking about their book! It depends where you are what time this will be broadcast....

Peter Lemkin
05-05-2017, 08:42 AM
Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Part 1: Rex Tillerson Sneak Peek From New Book by Author of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/1-3-700x470.jpg Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from U.S. Department of State / Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/33813019872/)
Rex Tillerson likes his privacy. Career diplomats working in the same building with him were given special instructions (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/secretary-of-state-rex-tillerson-spends-his-first-weeks-isolated-from-an-anxious-bureaucracy/2017/03/30/bdf8ec86-155f-11e7-ada0-1489b735b3a3_story.html?utm_term=.5c0ba6c76b79): Do not try to make eye contact with him, and do not speak to him directly.
On his first three trips abroad, Tillerson did not even meet with State Department employees in their embassies. Nor did he allow the usual press corps to accompany him on those trips. He took along only one reporter (https://qz.com/933157/rex-tillerson-is-traveling-to-asia-with-just-one-journalist-from-independent-journal-review/), one who was from the conservative website, Independent Journal Review. He does not like to answer questions. (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/opinion/why-is-mr-tillerson-in-a-perpetual-state-of-duck-and-cover.html)
To many, appointing the former CEO of Exxon as Secretary of State was about as appropriate as putting Bernie Madoff in charge of the treasury.
Tillerson is too close to Russia, and he’s too close to the oil business. He was with Exxon for 41 years. Since 2011, his company has been entering into multibillion-dollar deals with the Russian firm Rosneft, allowing Exxon access to the Russian Arctic, Siberia, and Russia’s far east. The Russian arctic alone contains approximately 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas.
This association presents a conflict of interest. Because the US imposed sanctions against Russia after it invaded Ukraine in 2014, Exxon is reported (http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Exxon-Has-Lost-Over-1-Billion-From-Russian-Sanctions.html) to have lost $1 billion. Tillerson is opposed to the sanctions.
And there is another potential conflict of interest. Terry Collingsworth, a lawyer with International Rights Advocates, is concerned that a State Department under Tillerson may “intervene to side with big companies (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/trumps-pick-secretary-state-rex-tillerson-linked-human-rights-abuses-indonesia) like Exxon Mobil in future human rights abuse cases.”
Collingsworth is the lawyer for plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil (http://iradvocates.org/sites/default/files/06.11.01%20Exxon%20complaint.pdf) for “damages” inflicted by Indonesian military hired to perform “security services” on behalf of Exxon. The “security services” involved “human rights abuses, including genocide, murder, torture, crimes against humanity, sexual violence, and kidnaping.” (According to a progressive website (http://inthesetimes.com/features/rex_tillerson_exxon_trump_secretary_of_state.html) , this is just one of many lawsuits.) Collingsworth believes the appointment of Tillerson sends a message (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/trumps-pick-secretary-state-rex-tillerson-linked-human-rights-abuses-indonesia):
“The world is open for business — environment and human rights be damned.”
Dick Russell has just published a book on the very people who embrace that attitude — including Rex Tillerson — and the devastating consequences it has had on our planet: Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means for Our Children (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1510721754/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1510721754&linkId=c50b39506760d650f43d38cd371a7dba) (with an Introduction by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) (Hot books, April 2017) He says of them:
“These dark lords like to pose as good family men, benefactors of charities and the arts, upstanding pillars of their community. But first and foremost they are enemies of life on earth. This book has sought to put a face to the entrenched evil that has pushed us to the point of no return.”
Below is the first of two parts excerpted from Chapter One of this book.
Dick Russell has many passions, as demonstrated by his many books, but he is perhaps best known for his thrilling, The Man Who Knew Too (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881849006/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0881849006&linkId=935578333ba8cfe262475cf1ba31119b)M (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881849006/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0881849006&linkId=935578333ba8cfe262475cf1ba31119b)uch (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881849006/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0881849006&linkId=935578333ba8cfe262475cf1ba31119b) (Carroll & Graf, 2003). His other books include My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1629144878/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1629144878&linkId=13b3c23ac309015e82a2590241acd681) (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014); The Life and Ideas of James Hillman:Volume I: The Making of a Psychologist (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/161145462X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=161145462X&linkId=a6b6627ac75d5b630e651d3e0af90cfc) (Arcade Publishing, 2013); On the Trail of the Assassins: A Groundbreaking Look at America’s Most Infamous Conspiracy (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616080868/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1616080868&linkId=d92466f547497de5f710d8be2eed460c) (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010); Striper Wars: An American Fish Story (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00530Z3HC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00530Z3HC&linkId=9f124a108b78278d598818306466a74c) (Island Press, 2005); , Black Genius and the American Experience (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0786705736/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0786705736&linkId=a7ce198f60478b8daa70d8f62522b646) (Carroll & Graf 1998).
WhoWhatWhy introduction by Milicent Cranor
Rex Tillerson.Rex Wayne Tillerson, a product of small towns in Texas and Oklahoma whose father worked four decades as a professional organizer for the Boy Scouts of America, is himself an Eagle Scout. Indeed, Tillerson the former ExxonMobil CEO still denotes this on his resumé. His corporate speeches often cite the Scout Oath and Scout Law. But when it comes to his business practices, Tillerson is not a good Scout. Doesn’t a Boy Scout leave a place cleaner than they found it?
Tillerson has shown he can be a good steward of the earth, however, if he happens to own the plot of earth. He leaped into action in 2014, when a 15-story water tower was slated to be built adjacent to his ranch. The tower’s purpose? Providing water to a nearby natural gas drilling site that utilized hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.”
ExxonMobil had lately become America’s largest homegrown producer of natural gas, and Tillerson had publicly said of attempts to curtail fracking, “This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth and global competitiveness.”
However, in his backyard, fracking would apparently create “a constant and unbearable nuisance to those that live next to it,” including “traffic with heavy trucks” which would devalue his property. So Tillerson joined a lawsuit aimed at shutting down the project, along with co-plaintiff Dick Armey, the former Republican House Majority Leader. (Adding to the richness of the irony, Armey is currently chair of FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group that loudly supports fracking. But Armey’s $2 million, 78-acre ranch also lies adjacent to the water tower site, which puts things in a different perspective.)
But when it comes to the health of the planet, Tillerson has little concern for future generations. In August 2015, 21 young people from around the U.S. filed a still-ongoing lawsuit against the Obama administration, alleging that the federal government has violated their rights by failing to protect present and future generations from human-caused climate change.
Ranging in age from 8 to 19, the youth addressed conditions near their own homes: extreme drought, a threatened forest leading to water scarcity, an unswimmable river due to fish die-offs.
ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and dozens more oil and gas companies were worried enough about the children’s crusade to join the government’s effort to defeat the lawsuit. The fossil fuel powerhouses called the youth’s case “extraordinary” and “a direct threat to [their] businesses.”
In response to the energy industry aggressive counterattack, retired NASA scientist James Hansen, who has been sounding the alarm about climate change for decades, declared, “I am not surprised that fossil fuel corporations seek to derail this case, but the fundamental rights of my granddaughter and future generations to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness must prevail.”
http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2-1-1024x682.jpg (http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2-1.jpg)Joliet Exxon Mobile Refinery Photo credit: airguy1988 / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) (https://www.flickr.com/photos/airguy1988/6504922679/)

Rex Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975, upon graduating from the University of Texas. He would rise quickly through the ranks of the multinational energy giant’s oil-and-gas discovery division. Kenneth Cohen entered the corporation as legal counsel in 1977, ultimately going on to run its public affairs department. Cohen would also serve as a national trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Tillerson and Cohen, so-called youth advocates, would become primary players in denying to this day the catastrophic risks that climate change poses to the very survival of future generations.
Nor are they alone. Jack Gerard has been at the helm since 2008 of the American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s leading lobby. Gerard, who has been named one of Washington, D.C.’s “Power 100,” and his wife have eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala. He is a past chairman of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which hosts thousands of youth in Washington, Maryland, Virginia and the Virgin Islands, and he continues to serve as a Boy Scouts board member.
In delivering a State of American Energy address in January 2016, Gerard spoke of how fossil fuels must “remain the foundation upon which our modern society rests for decades to come” despite “an ardent few who continue to believe that keeping our nation’s abundant energy resources in the ground is a credible and viable national energy strategy. There are some in government who will advance their favored forms of energy to that dubious and untested end, heedless of the potential harm it could cause to our economy.”
Against all scientific wisdom, Gerard also demanded the elimination of all government obstacles to future carbon energy exploitation, decrying the “dangerous combination of outdated policies and anti-fossil fuel political ideology that discourages American companies from investing in tomorrow’s pipelines, marine terminals and other energy infrastructure projects.”
Be prepared, Boy Scouts are taught. This has become a particularly urgent lesson as the human race is forced to prepare for one natural disaster after the next linked to our changing climate.
http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3-1-1024x636.jpg (http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3-1.jpg)Humble Oil and Refining Company advertisement about melting glaciers, 1962. Photo credit: Sociological Images (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/08/15/oil-company-brags-about-glacier-melting/)

All the way back in 1958, Bell Laboratories funded a series of TV science specials produced by the legendary Frank Capra. One of the episodes, titled “The Unchained Goddess,” featured Dr. Frank B. Baxter, a professor at the University of Southern California. Over a half century ago, Baxter told a national audience,
“Even now, man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release, through factories and automobiles every year, of more than six billion tons of carbon dioxide….our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer. It’s been calculated that a few degrees rise in the earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps, and if this happens, an inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water.”
Four years later, Humble Oil and Refining – to be “rebranded” in the early 1970s as Exxon – took out a two-page color ad in Life Magazine. Below a beautiful color photograph of Alaska’s cloud-bedecked Taku Glacier, its headline read:

This giant glacier has remained unmelted for centuries. Yet, the petroleum energy Humble supplies – if converted into heat – could melt it at the rate of 80 tons each second!
Was it prescience? Or a kind of Freudian slip? We’ll never know.

Magda Hassan
05-05-2017, 02:09 PM

Lauren Johnson
05-05-2017, 02:40 PM
We've already ordered the book. (Also, do you really think Pence said this?)

Peter Lemkin
05-05-2017, 06:25 PM

I knew the man was heartless and cruel as well as morally insane, but that statement takes the cake! No need for hospitals and doctors - just pray to be well. Insanity! No doubt no need to worry about the environment - that too will be taken care of by someone in the clouds. We are under control of the 'religious Reich'.

Lauren Johnson
05-05-2017, 06:38 PM

I knew the man was heartless and cruel as well as morally insane, but that statement takes the cake! No need for hospitals and doctors - just pray to be well. Insanity! No doubt no need to worry about the environment - that too will be taken care of by someone in the clouds. We are under control of the 'religious Reich'.

Maggie, can you find this on Fox News FB? I didn't -- yet. Not that it isn't true.

Magda Hassan
05-06-2017, 09:16 AM
Yes, I am not sure either. We know he thinks this but did he actually say it? I will keep looking.

Peter Lemkin
05-06-2017, 09:52 AM
Easy to find is the V.P's statement that he believes in Intelligent Design and not Evolution and that all the 'framers of the Constitution did, as well', and that some day scientists would also.

Peter Lemkin
05-07-2017, 05:16 AM
Here is the link to the interview https://www.rt.com/shows/watching-the-hawks/387325-apocalypse-climate-change-trump/

Horsemen of the Apocalypse (https://www.amazon.com/Horsemen-Apocalypse-Destroying-Earth-Children/dp/1510721754/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493317516&sr=8-1&keywords=horsemen+of+the+apocalypse) is the new book by environmental journalist Dick Russell (http://www.dickrussell.org/)that details the people and institutions most responsible for today’s climate and environmental crisis. Russell focuses on fossil fuel titans like Charles and David Koch (https://www.desmogblog.com/koch-family-foundations); Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (https://www.desmogblog.com/rex-tillerson); CEO of fracking giant Continental ResourcesHarold Hamm (https://www.desmogblog.com/search/google/harold%20hamm); and Peabody Coal chief Greg Boyce.
“As carbon dioxide has risen to atmospheric levels not witnessed on earth in millions of years, a relative handful of men have fought to maintain their power and wealth at the expense of all civilization,” Russell writes. “This book scrutinizes who these people are, their means of confusing the truth, and how they justify their actions.”
In the book Russell addresses how these energy moguls manipulated and confused the public through public relations spin doctors like Richard Berman (https://www.desmogblog.com/directory/vocabulary/18686) and propaganda campaigns run by nonprofit front groups, think tanks, and other research-for-hire organizations. Russell unearths the unrelenting flow of fossil fuel money to lobbyists and government decision makers, particularly within the Trump administration, which has tilted the scales in favor of corporate profits and against the well-being of all people and the planet.
The book dives into the history of individuals — many now running the government — who have deep ties to the Koch brothers, dark money, and networks of climate denial. A sampling of these individuals include many familiar to DeSmog readers: the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt (https://www.desmogblog.com/scott-pruitt); (https://www.desmogblog.com/david-schnare)Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/01/17/trump-s-doi-nominee-rep-ryan-zinke-face-questioning-climate-record-support-oil-gas-and-coal); Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (https://www.desmogblog.com/rick-perry); Rep. Lamar Smith (https://www.desmogblog.com/lamar-smith); Sen. James Inhofe (https://www.desmogblog.com/james-inhofe); David Schnare (https://www.desmogblog.com/david-schnare); Michael Catanzaro (https://www.desmogblog.com/mike-catanzaro); Myron Ebell (https://www.desmogblog.com/myron-ebell); Thomas Pyle (https://www.desmogblog.com/thomas-pyle); and Mike Pompeo (https://www.desmogblog.com/directory/vocabulary/7674).
Russell also covers the shifting mind-set of the younger generation. In particular, he writes about the offspring of some of the wealthiest fossil fuel families and their dedication to changing the status quo in the energy arena. He covers the journey to fossil fuel divestment by the Rockefeller family, as well as the environmental quest of the granddaughter of the man who pioneered fracking. He also interviews the son of Richard Berman who has described his father as “a sort of human monster.”

Peter Lemkin
05-09-2017, 05:58 AM
The second of two parts excerpted from Chapter One of Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means for Our Children (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1510721754/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=who0ee-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1510721754&linkId=c50b39506760d650f43d38cd371a7dba) (Hot books, April 2017). To read Part 1, please go here (http://whowhatwhy.org/2017/05/04/horsemen-apocalypse-part-1-rex-tillerson/).
Early Warnings


As early as 1968, the American Petroleum Institute received a report from the Stanford Research Institute concerning “sources, abundance, and fate of atmospheric pollutants.” It concluded that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels were “outstripping the natural CO2 removal processes that keep the atmosphere in equilibrium” and that “significant temperature increase could lead to melting ice caps, rising seas, and potentially serious environmental damage worldwide.”
Industry scientists confirmed that urgent research was required to bring these emissions under control. Clifford Garvin, while CEO at Exxon between 1975 and 1986, decided to install solar panels for heating his swimming pool in the New Jersey suburbs. At the time, President Jimmy Carter did the same on the roof of the White House, while initiating a program aimed at the country getting 20% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2000.
Both these moves coincided with a 1979 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study concluding that if man-made carbon dioxide emissions continued to grow, there was “no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible…. a wait-and-see policy may mean waiting until it is too late.”
But wait-and-see quickly became the order of the day. With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, down came the solar panels from the White House. Within Exxon, the CEO’s solar gesture was soon regarded as a prime example of what not to do; alternatives to petroleum simply weren’t economically sustainable.
Even before the NAS study appeared, Exxon was well aware that something potentially disastrous was underway.
Here’s where the obfuscation began: At a July 1977 meeting inside the company’s then-headquarters in New York City, Exxon senior scientist James F. Black displayed slides warning that the burning of fossil fuels could eventually endanger humanity.
“Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical,” the scientist later summarized in a memo.
Black had also identified the prime perpetrators, describing “general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”
http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/image3-1-1024x682.jpg (http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/image3-1.jpg)Photo credit: WClarke / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0) (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exxon_Mobil_oil_refinery_-_Baton_Rouge,_Louisiana.jpg)

That memo wouldn’t surface publicly for almost 40 years, when the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsletter, InsideClimate News, revealed the discovery of these early dire warnings in ExxonMobil’s own archive.
This was followed, in fall 2015, by an exposé published in the Los Angeles Times. The Times’ reporters, plus a team of Columbia University post-graduate journalists, pieced together the damning saga primarily from hundreds of documents housed in the ExxonMobil Historical Collection at the University of Texas, Austin. (A book, Exxon: The Road Not Taken, has subsequently been published.)
Further evidence of the cover-up surfaced in April 2016, in a report by DeSmog Blog based on corporate documents found in the archive of Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Oil. A “Review of Environmental Protection Activities for 1978-1979” prepared by Imperial Oil stated there was “no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage” were “aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.
Technology exists to remove CO2 from stack gases but removal of only 50% of the CO2 would double the cost of power generation.”
Managers all through Exxon’s international offices were on the distribution list for this alarming report. A subsequent company report for 1980-81 noted as one of the “Key Environmental Issues and Concerns” that global warming is “receiving increased media attention.”
Exxon wasn’t alone in its malfeasance. Back in 1979, the American Petroleum Institute established an industry task force in 1979 to monitor and share research on climate impacts. The members of the joint project included senior scientists and engineers from Exxon and nine other energy firms – Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, Mobil, Sunoco, Sohio, Gulf Oil and Standard Oil of California.
A background paper produced for the group stated that atmospheric carbon dioxide was steadily accelerating. Initially calling itself the CO2 and Climate Task Force, the group changed its name to the Climate and Energy Task Force in 1980.
“It was a fact-finding task force,” according to former director James J. Nelson. “We wanted to look at emerging science, the implications of it and where improvements could be made, if possible, to reduce emissions.”
During a meeting of the task force in February 1980, a Texaco representative proposed that the group should “help develop ground rules for energy release of fuels and the cleanup of fuels as they relate to CO2 creation.”
The following year, Exxon hired Harvard astrophysicist Brian Flannery as an in-house scientist to specifically conduct research into the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. That spring, Flannery sat on a Department of Energy (DOE) workshop panel alongside NASA scientist James Hansen, who would shortly publish a study in the journal Science warning about significant warming — even if emissions controls got put in place. “Scientists are agreed,” the workshop concluded, that an ongoing atmospheric buildup would pose problems for the biosphere.
Exxon scientists had by now outfitted an oil tanker with CO2 detectors and analyzers, while constructing models to project how global temperatures would be affected by a doubling of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
A 1982 corporate primer produced by the company’s environmental affairs office recognized that “major reductions in fossil fuel combustion” would be required; otherwise, “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered. Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”
Exxon marked this disturbing document “not to be distributed externally” – even though it contained information that “has been given wide circulation to Exxon management.”
http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/image1-1-1024x682.jpg (http://whowhatwhy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/image1-1.jpg)Photo credit: Zappys Technology Solutions / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (https://www.flickr.com/photos/102642344@N02/9856473134/)

The Spin: “Emphasize Uncertainty”


Despite the growing awareness of the carbon dioxide crisis within Exxon’s managerial circles, a June 1982 corporate memo noted that CO2 program expenditures should be trimmed from $900,000 a year to no more than $150,000, starting immediately. (At the time, Exxon’s annual research-and-development budget topped $600 million, while its exploration and capital budgets stood at $11 billion.)
Around the same time, a corporate study acknowledged that “the increasing level of atmospheric CO2 is causing considerable concern due to potential climate effects,” but added that an expanded research effort “would require skills which are in limited supply.”
Two innovative experiments were soon terminated – one on the oceans’ ability to absorb CO2 and another to test vintage French wines for tell-tale traces of the greenhouse gas.
Martin Hoffert, then a physics professor at New York University, joined Exxon as a consultant in the early 1980s. A decade earlier, Hoffert had been a senior research fellow at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, working alongside climate science pioneers James Hansen and Stephen Schneider.
Hoffert would become the author or co-author of a majority of Exxon’s nearly 50 peer-reviewed papers on the topic. In a highly technical 50-page chapter co-written by Hoffert and Brian Flannery for a 1985 Department of Energy report, the scientists predicted that, unless emissions were scaled back, the start of the 21st century could witness a staggering temperature rise of up to six degrees Celsius.
Hoffert says he “very naively believed that the signal would break through and the scientists would tell politicians to do what was necessary. At that time, there were no divisions, no agendas. We were coming together as scientists to address issues of vital importance to the world.”
However, “there was a fork in the road. They had the opportunity to make a decision to go one way or the other way. If Exxon had listened to its scientists and endorsed our research….it would have had, in my opinion, an enormous impact.”
Instead, “what happened was an incredible disconnect in people trained in physical science and engineering. It’s an untold story of how we got to the point where climate change has become a threat to the world.”
The summer of 1988 was a memorable one, a turning point in terms of increased awareness about global warming. A scorching heat wave was blamed for more than 5,000 deaths in the US and costs of close to $40 billion. Hoffert’s former NASA colleague, James Hansen, issued a warning before Congress about the consequences of failing to act.
Meanwhile, Exxon was already substituting spin for science, with its public affairs manager recommending, in an August 1988 internal memo, that the company “emphasize the uncertainty” in the scientific data concerning the role of fossil fuels.
Corporate paranoia was running high at the time. On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez had run aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Almost 11 million gallons of crude oil spewed from a ruptured hull into the remote, pristine waters – the largest oil spill in American coastal waters until BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster 21 years later.
Around the time of the Valdez spill, Duane LeVine, Exxon’s manager of science and strategy development, gave a presentation to the company’s board of directors. “Data confirm that greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels contribute most of the CO2,” LeVine said unequivocally. By the middle of the 21st-century, global temperatures would likely rise between 2.7 and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit, bringing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and “generally negative consequences.”
Already, pressure from environmentalists was mounting, LeVine said, citing the recent Montreal Protocol that banned ozone layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and adding that this “pales by comparison to the difficulties of applying similar approaches” to carbon dioxide.
LeVine went on: “Arguments that we can’t tolerate delay and must act now can lead to irreversible and costly draconian steps.”
Scientist Flannery weighed in with a note to colleagues in an internal Exxon newsletter, warning that regulatory attempts to reduce risk would “alter profoundly the strategic direction of the energy industry.”
At the annual meeting of its shareholders in 1990, a proposal calling upon Exxon to reduce emissions was denounced by the company’s board due to the “great scientific uncertainties.”
What had happened to company scientists like Flannery? “Brian knows everything I know, he was a very smart guy,” Hoffert says.
“But I think he and others began to feel the weight of the front office. You’re doing all this research, but you have a nice house in the suburbs. Do our brains work in such a way that we adopt the feelings and belief systems of people in our tribes? You don’t want to lose the community that validates you. I did talk to them [the Exxon scientists] about it all the time when I was there, but they would just say I was a liberal university guy. And why didn’t the higher-ups at Exxon feel ethically disturbed by what they were learning? Maybe some did; it’s possible some execs quit or voted against their bosses at the board meetings, but we’ll never know.”
As Hoffert wrote from retirement in a private essay, “My Exxon History of Climate Research,” in 2015:
“Frankly I’m not sure if I quit or was fired as one of their major consultants on climate change science… Why, I wondered forty years back, couldn’t a giant multinational hydrocarbon company like Exxon redefine and reconfigure itself as an energy company for the twenty-first century, much like General Electric and even Silicon Valley based companies like Tesla Motors are actually doing?… This path not taken here can cost our children and grandchildren dearly. The details of this story, still in progress, need to be told, analyzed, debated and eventually shouted from the rooftops.”
Hoffert’s own rooftop in central Florida, designed himself, is lined with $50,000 worth of photovoltaic solar cells, making his a nearly carbon-neutral residence. The retired scientist drives a plug-in hybrid and exercises on a solar-powered bicycle…