Shell Knew

with scenes from a moment without our star


At noon, Industrious Labs’ Dominique Thomas and Lee Helfend are holding a free webinar on industrial decarbonization and movement building, for all who are nerds about figuring out how heavy industry, which generates about one fourth of climate pollution, can clean up its act—or for anyone who isn’t yet obsessed by cement and steel.

The sun, eaten by the moon.

The sun, eaten by the moon. Credit: Brad Johnson

ExxonKnews’s Emily Sanders writes about the new Bucks County, Pa. climate lawsuit against the oil majors after last year’s killer floods:

Bucks County is just one in a growing list of communities taking legal action against fossil fuel companies in the wake of deadly extreme weather events. Multnomah County, Oregon sued oil, gas, and coal majors after a 2021 heat dome that killed nearly 70 people. On the 10 year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey’s attorney general took Exxon, Chevron, and other oil giants to court, citing the billions of dollars in damage and deaths the hurricane caused in the state. In the first-ever racketeering lawsuit against Big Oil companies, Puerto Rico municipalities are seeking to recover costs incurred by Hurricane Maria. 

Even as new disasters lead to new climate lawsuits, researchers newly uncover more evidence that carbon polluters knew their products would lead to misery by polluting the weather—and intentionally lied to the public to block climate action. Sanders describes this 1998 prediction from Shell, revealed by the Climate Investigations Center:

“In 2010, a series of violent storms causes extensive damage to the eastern coast of the U.S. … Following the storms, a coalition of environmental NGOs brings a class-action suit against the US government and fossil-fuel companies on the grounds of neglecting what scientists (including their own) have been saying for years: that something must be done.

A social reaction to the use of fossil fuels grows, and individuals become ‘vigilante environmentalists’ in the same way, a generation earlier, they had become fiercely anti-tobacco. Direct-action campaigns against companies escalate. Young consumers, especially, demand action.”

Exxon knew, and so did Shell. (As did they all.)

Shadow and light, reflected in dark waters

Shadow and light, reflected in dark waters. Credit: Brad Johnson

It’s a busy day on the Hill. In addition to multiple budget hearings, there are several important climate hearings.

At 10 am, House Financial Services conducts yet another all-white-male hearing attacking the Securities and Exchange Commission’s climate disclosure rules. Although the SEC has already stayed the largely optional rule, the Republican witnesses—corporate lawyer and former Trump SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman, corporate lawyer and former Trump SEC General Counsel Robert Stebbins, and fracker Chris Wright—will argue it would destroy American businesses to track their climate pollution. Former SEC economist Josh White, now a professor of finance at Vanderbilt, is more neutral.

Also at 10 am, Senate Environment and Public Works examines the state of air quality monitoring technology with Congressional environmental policy analyst Omar Hammad, Denver air program supervisor Bill Obermann, and former Trump EPA official Anne Austin. This technology is what will determine enforcement of the Biden administration’s tighter soot pollution standards.

And Senate Commerce holds a hearing on the renomination of Jennifery Homendy as Chair of National Transportation Safety Board and Patrick Fuchs as member of Surface Transportation Board. The NTSB investigates accidents and disasters from aviation to pipelines, including the East Palestine toxic train derailment. The STB primarily regulates freight rail.

And at 2:30 pm, Senate Energy water and power subcommittee chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) oversees a hearing assessing cyber threats to and vulnerabilities of critical water infrastructure in our energy sector.

False dusk

False dusk, the hoot of an owl. Credit: Brad Johnson

Hearings on the Hill:

Climate Action Today:

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