Big Oil's Big Lies

Plus: Plastic waste, Asia bakes, Tyson pollutes, and climate solidarity


In preparation for tomorrow’s ExxonKnew hearing, Senate Budget and House Oversight Democrats have released a new tranche of internal Big Oil documents following years of investigation.

Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Chamber of Commerce fought Oversight’s document requests in September 2021 and even the subpoenas issued that November. The Chamber was willfully non-compliant, delivering 5,503 documents with only 24 (0.4%) relevant, while BP, Exxon, and API spuriously redacted relevant documents.

Of the more than 280,000 documents produced to the House Oversight Committee by all parties, more than 125,000 documents were mass emails, newsletters, flyers, and generally meaningless documents.

Even so, the investigators found new evidence of these six oil giants spending at least $700 million from 2010 to 2010 to build a powerful network of influence in universities whose federal and state funding has declined precipitously due to the efforts of Republican politicians financed by the same companies. Nearly every major university climate-policy institute is now financed by the oil industry. As Emily Atkin notes, the power BP has over Princeton University’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative is egregious.

The report also found Big Oil deliberately claiming to support Paris Agreement climate targets while internally dismissing them, recognizing internally that natural gas is an unavoidably potent climate pollutant while marketing it as a “clean” fuel, claiming to support stronger methane regulations while working to oppose them, and touting carbon capture and algae bio-fuels in “Harry Potter-esque” marketing campaigns1 while privately dismissing their commercial viability.

In short, Big Oil lied, lied, lied, and lied as they made record profits cooking the planet. Almost like they’re a long-running criminal conspiracy.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) will start the hearing at 9 am on Wednesday morning.

The blue rock-thrush. Credit: Michael Sanchez

The White House Council on Environmental Quality has released permitting rules to accelerate deployment of the high-energy transmission lines and other renewable-energy infrastructure. The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Christy Goldfuss, a former Obama CEQ chair, praised the rule for respecting the National Environmental Protection Act instead of gutting it.

The international plastic pollution talks in Ottawa collapsed last night as developed countries capitulated at the last minute to pressure from fossil fuel and industry lobbyists. The United States negotiators blocked an agreement at the behest of the world’s top plastic polluters, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Altria, and Phillip Morris International. “The United States needs to stop pretending to be a leader and own the failure it has created here,” the Center for International Environmental Law’s Carroll Muffett told the Guardian’s Sandra Lavelle.

Micah Sifry takes a deep look at the consequences and threat of the private-equity rollup of progressive tech infrastructure, including NGP VAN, ActionKit, Salsa Labs, Mobilize, DonorTrends, BSD Tools, Cyber Self, and Social Solutions into Bonterra. Fortunately, alternatives with more sustainable trajectories are emerging.

Climate groups including 198 Methods, 350 US, Greenpeace US, Sunrise Movement, and the Green New Deal Network have joined a large coalition of progressive and faith organizations in a statement in solidarity with student protests for Gaza.

This felt especially relevant today
ISAAC CHOTINER: It’s just interesting, because my understanding is that you had a pretty good opportunity to destroy the one ring. ISILDUR: No, that’s not— IC: O.K. I: You have to appreciate what was happening. IC: Right. You’re in Mt Doom with the ring— I: Sauron was right there! IC: Sure.

The fossil-fueled House Natural Resources oversight subcommittee is holding a hearing questioning the legitimacy of environmental organizations, specifically attacking Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland for her association with the environmental justice organization Pueblo Action Alliance, attacking the Wilderness Society for its successful advocacy against the Twin Metals mine, and calling mainline environmental groups like NRDC and the League of Conservation Voters “extreme activist nonprofit organizations.” The Republican witnesses are Scott Walter of the climate-denial shop Capital Research Center and The Daily Signal’s Tyler O’Neil, also a hardcore climate denier and conspiracy theorist. The Democratic witness is former Republican Richard Painter, the vice-chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Meanwhile, the House oversight committee holds a hearing on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget with deputy director Jason Miller, and the House Ways and Means Committee interviews Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

This morning, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan reviews the the $11 billion EPA budget request with House appropriators, Secretary Pete Buttigieg discusses the $109 billion Department of Transportation budget request with House appropriators, NASA administrator Bill Nelson reviews NASA’s $25 billion budget request with the House science committee. In the afternoon, Acting Housing and Urban Development Secretary Adrianne Todman explains the $72 billion HUD budget to Senate appropriators.

Hearings on the Hill:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me—@[email protected], @climatebrad on Threads, and on BlueSky

1  Credit for the “Harry Potter-esque” feel of Exxon’s digital ads goes to marketing executive Brandon Fowler, who for some reason doesn’t promote his slimy work for ExxonMobil.

Join the conversation

or to participate.