Acclaimed Climatologist Blasts Big Oil’s Sham Climate Pledges

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 15, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State and climatologist, Dr. Michael E. Mann, provided cold, harsh facts to the House Oversight and Reform Committee in his opening testimony on Tuesday morning February 8, 2022. These chilling details, that were televised live on C-Span across the globe, continued for 3 hours and 30 minutes as Mann and his fellow witnesses (Ms.Tracey Lewis, policy counsel for Public Citizen’s climate program; Ms. Katie Tubb, senior policy analyst for energy and environmental issues, Heritage Foundation; and Mr. Mark van Baal, Founder, Follow This) answered questions posed by each Representative on the Committee. 

At issue, Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Climate Pledges. Mann stunned viewers by sharing information that was difficult to process on an emotional level, considering how barbaric and inhumane these revelations are, and that the burning of fossil fuels cause more than 8 million premature deaths each year, that climate disasters have brutalized communities across the globe, and that 2.7 billion people are now food insecure, many of whom are children.

“ExxonMobil’s own scientists, in a secret 1982 report that was never released to the public, made remarkably accurate predictions of both the rise that we would see in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and the planetary warming that would result given business as usual extraction and burning of fossil fuels,” Mann said in a brisk, even pace, seemingly aware of how quickly time flies and wanting to get everything on the record before his five minutes were up. “They even used the word ‘catastrophic’ to describe the potential impacts of that warming. But rather than come forward with what their own scientists had concluded, they engaged in a campaign of denial and delay which continues on today.” 

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) was up at bat at the hearing’s three hour mark. Chevron is headquartered in DeSaulnier’s district in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. Additionally, there are four oil refineries in DeSaulnier’s district. He’s been at war with big oil for years and thus has a unique perspective that enabled him to drill down a bit deeper and tap into what might prove to be a winning strategy in light of the well-documented, slick and deceptive, big oil greenwashing delay tactics. 

In 2016, Desaulnier, along with his California colleague Congressman Ted Lieu, whose district includes another big West Coast fossil fuel footprint in Torrance, California, south of Los Angeles, requested information through a hearing “on what Exxon had done to obfuscate its role and its knowledge.” This was following an LA Times investigative series into California oil polluters that was conducted in partnership with Climate Action. DeSaulnier and Lieu are still waiting for much of the requested response from Exxon. Nearly 7 years, and still waiting. We only have 8 years left to cut carbon emissions 50% by 2030. There is absolutely no more time for waiting for oil giants to do what they should have done years ago.

Image Credit: Noreen Wise
Marble statue in front of Rayburn House Office Building on Independence Ave in DC, across the street from the US Capitol, covered in black, toxic fossil fuel pollution.

Mann also outlined just how dire the climate crisis already is in his opening testimony. “We are now paying the extreme opportunity cost of that delay in the form of withering heat waves, more destructive tornado outbreaks, wildfires, and floods exacerbated by climate change. Whether it’s the apocalyptic wildfires that once again ravaged California and the west this summer, a heat dome over the Pacific Northwest that made parts of Canada feel like Phoenix on the 4th of July, or the devastating floods my state of Pennsylvania experienced as the remnants of climate change-fueled hurricane Ida dumped months’ worth of rainfall in a few hours, it is clear that dangerous climate change is upon us. These events are costing the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars a year and the toll in dollars and human lives will continue to increase in the absence of concerted action.”

DeSaulnier provided quoted assurances from the big oil companies on what they’re busy doing to transition to clean energy:

  • BP says it will be a very different kind of energy company by 2030 “as we scale up investment in low carbon energy.”
  • Chevron: “Leadership and innovation to advance a low carbon future.”
  • Exxon: “Committed to helping form our energy systems in working to reduce emissions in the short term, while also working on advancing decarbonization solutions.” 

DeSaulnier brought everyone back to reality by adding, “Contrast that with their financial reports from 2010-2018,” and then outlined the total capital expenditures of each oil giant to underscore that their actions don’t match their words:

  • BP spent 2.3% on low carbon investments.
  • Shell spent 1.3% on low carbon investments.
  • Chevron spent .23%. Gasp! (DeSaulnier stared at the camera in disbelief. “A California company!”) 
  • Exxon spent .22% on low carbon investments.

He continued with additional evidence of successful big oil delay tactics that undermine America’s strength, stability and health. “According to the Low Carbon Disclosure Project, 24 of the largest publicly owned oil companies spent less than 1% of their budgets on low carbon investments between 2010-2017.”

Not only is this morally wrong, but it undermines America’s economic strength, Desaulnier emphasized. There’s a global shift to a green economy and clean energy. Major financial resources are moving in that direction. Fossil fuel’s delay in transitioning means that money is flowing into foreign countries. “So we are in a race to be globally competitive to transition.” China is installing 100,000 charging stations each month. The United States only has 42,000 charging stations total. China has more than 1.5 million total.

With internal anger and frustration churning away in most viewers by this point in DeSaulnier’s five minutes, and these alarming and disproportionate numbers underscoring how far behind the United States is in the transition curve, and how many jobs we’ve already lost because of our delay, DeSaulnier sought answers to several tough questions from two witnesses.

CONGRESSMAN MARK DESAULNIER: So, Dr. Mann, why should we trust them when they say they’re going to transition and work with us?

DR. MICHAEL E. MANN: They’re not going to do this voluntarily. What more evidence do we need for that? That’s why we need policy that makes it necessary for them to move in the direction that we know they have to go.

CONGRESSMAN MARK DESAULNIER: Ms. Lewis, shouldn’t they be accountable legally for the delay they’ve caused us in being competitive and also in meeting our targets in terms of reducing carbon?

MS. LEWIS: It’s very clear they can be held accountable. Congress has done it before. The tobacco settlements. …Mortgage Crisis. Done before. So, it can be done again.

With the answers to his burning questions now on the record, DeSaulnier closed his five minutes by referencing Dr. Mann’s earlier statement regarding big oil companies that are following the same business model that’s been used many times before. Shareholders, investors and corporate officers who leave with “tons of money” (tobacco producers, pharmaceuticals, gun manufacturers) while everyone else has to deal with the crises and immense suffering.

“In my area, the local editorial board once said, ‘We’re addicted to this product. We’re dealing with a drug dealer here. Where we’re trying to extract ourselves from a relationship. Thank you, Madam Chair, I yield back.’”

Viewers were left to bare the heavy truth that we can never trust the climate pledges of America’s oil giants and thus our futures are all in peril.

Today, news broke that Sandy Hook families reached a historic $73 million settlement agreement with gun manufacturer Remington.

We saw legal accountability with Purdue Pharma, as well. After years of extraordinary suicide rates, and millions of young people struggling with addiction to heavily marketed opioids, in 2018, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey became the first to sue Purdue Pharma executives for misleading physicians in the company’s twisted plot to boost their profit. A $4 billion settlement was reached in July of 2021 between Perdue Pharma, Massachusetts and 14 other states.

*The February 8, 2022 House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Climate Pledges is of such great importance, with dozens of extraordinary moments, Gallant Gold Media will be highlighting many of the representatives’ statements and questions in the upcoming weeks and months.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


Michael E. Mann

  • Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University
  • Joint Appointment with the Department of Geosciences
  • Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center
  • One of the Lead Authors of the 2021 IPCC Report
  • Author of The New Climate War, along with 5 other books
  • Author of 200+ total peer-reviewed/edited publications
  • Undergrduate degree Physics and Applied Math University of Applied Math, University of California at Berkley
  • M.S. degree in Physics, Yale University
  • Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics, Yale University

Awards and Honors

2021      Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, American Physical Society

2020      Stephen Schneider Lecture, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

2020      World Sustainability Award, MDPI Sustainability Foundation

2020      Ten Most Influential Earth Scientists, Academic

2020      Elected to U.S. National Academy of Sciences

2020      Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, American Meteorological Society (AMS), for “The Tantrum that Saved the World”

2019      Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

2018      Climate Communication Prize, American Geophysical Union (AGU)

2018      Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

2018      Award for Public Engagement with Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

2018      Elected Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Center for Skeptical Inquiry.

2017      Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, Climate One

2016      Elected Vice Chair, Topical Group on Physics of Climate (GPC), American Physical Society (APS)

2015      Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

2014      Named Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) 

2014      Friend of the Planet Award, National Center for Science Education

2013      National Conservation Achievement Award, National Wildlife Federation

2013      Bloomberg News list of 50 Most Influential People

2013      Elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society

2012      Hans Oeschger Medal, European Geosciences Union

2011      Elected Member-at-Large of Section W (Atmospheric & Hydrospheric Sciences), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2008      Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

2008      Profiled in American Environmental Leaders From Colonial Times to the Present

2008      Website “RealClimate.org” (co-founded by M. Mann) chosen as one of top 15 “green” websites by Time Magazine (April 2008)

2007      Contributed (with other IPCC report authors) to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

2006      American Geophysical Union Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (for ‘Geophysical Research letters’)

2005      Website “RealClimate.org” (co-founded by M. Mann) chosen as one of top 25 “Science and Technology” websites by Scientific American

2005      John Russell Mather Paper award for 2005 by the Association of American Geographers [for article: Frauenfeld, O., Davis, R.E., and Mann, M.E., A Distinctly Interdecadal Signal of Pacific Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction, Journal of Climate 18, 1709-1718, 2005]

2002      Named by Scientific American as one of 50 leading visionaries in science and technology

2002      Outstanding Scientific Paper award for 2002 by NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) [for article:  Delworth, T.L., Mann, M.E., Observed and Simulated Multidecadal Variability in the Northern Hemisphere, Climate Dynamics, 16, 661-676, 2000]

2002      Article [Mann et al, “Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries”, Nature, 392, 779-787, 1998] selected for ‘fast moving fronts’ by Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)

2002      Selected as one of 10 ‘Mead Honored Faculty’, University of Virginia

1998      Council of Graduate Schools’ Distinguished Dissertation Award, nominated

1997      Phillip M. Orville Prize for outstanding dissertation in the earth sciences, Yale University

1996      Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship (DOE)

1989      Josiah Willard Gibbs Prize for outstanding research and scholarship in Physics, Yale University


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Amy Coney Barrett Unsure of Climate Change, a Scientific Fact

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 16, 2020 by Michael Wells, Attorney @slnc01

On October 14, 2020, Trump Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, told Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) she could not say whether climate change exists because it is a “politically contentious issue.” She also confessed to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) she has no firm view on climate change. A skeptic might ask what her view on climate change has to do with cases that might come before her when she sits on the Supreme Court. Quite a bit, actually, especially in light of the lawsuits filed by a number of States’ Attorneys General against Exxon in the past few years.

The New York State Supreme Court in 2019 considered whether Exxon lied to investors about the company’s contribution to climate change and thus violated securities law. The Court ruled in Exxon’s favor, according to NPR, stating there was no evidence Exxon hid evidence of climate change.

This should signal alarm bells across the globe. Climate change exists, and of course the oil companies knew and know about it. It is the greatest danger any of us will face in our lifetimes.

Moreover, when juxtaposed with Barrett’s testimony, that she could not comment on climate change even to acknowledge it exists, it does not bode well for the environment. Given the lawsuits against Exxon and other energy giants, it stands to reason that climate change is a major legal issue.

Barrett claimed she is not a scientist, but one does not need to be a scientist to accept climate change as a fact. And, if it is accepted as a fact, then that certainly affects how she would consider a case.

It is entirely possible (likely even) that, if Biden prevails, the Justice Department will pursue these climate change cases, thereby forcing Barrett to rule on this issue.

Hypothetically speaking, assume the previous New York case made it to the Supreme Court, and at the heart of the case was whether an oil company was committing fraud by hiding climate change from investors. If Barrett were to believe climate change does not exist or was unsure it existed, then her view of fraud would be very different. Then she might rule in favor of the oil giant thus allowing them to continue to pollute, destroy the environment, and unleash a further parade of horribles, possibly another COVID-19 type pandemic. 

Again, this is just speculation, but is it not all speculation as to what kinds of cases Barrett will hear? It is a question or probability. She will hear cases about abortion, birth control, searches and seizures, voting rights, climate change, and myriad other issues none of us ever hear about. In all likelihood, she will hear a case on climate change and likely very soon. 

In fact, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota against Exxon, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute, in the Spring of 2020, alleging the fossil fuel industry knew the damage these fossil fuels would cause the environment.

The cases are coming. It is only a matter of time before a case goes before the Supreme Court. 

Climate change affects everyone on the planet, and it is a problem that everyone will need to work together to solve. We can do our part such as reducing our carbon footprint and also by planting trees. But we also need to be able to count on a nominee to the Supreme Court to accept this established science because, if she does not, what hope do any of us ever have that climate change will ever get under control?

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Will Climate Action 100+ Unseat Mitch McConnell in 2020?

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Who is Climate Action 100+? A very powerful, strategic force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. One that has the potential to derail Mitch McConnell from American politics for the remainder of his days on earth… after all, McConnell is the single most culpable American connected to the US’s massive contribution to global warming during the past 35 years.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300In 1984, when McConnell began his career as a US Senator, carbon part per million was approximately 345 PPM. Scientists were alarmed. Carbon was on the rise and had to be quickly contained. Previously, it had hovered below 310 PPM for thousands of years. But McConnell, from the coal producing state of Kentucky, was determined to block all legislation that would impact coal production levels.

From 1985 to the present, there have been dozens of international conventions with representatives from the majority of countries in the world gathering to brainstorm collectively and address the rise in carbon levels and ways to curb it. At the conclusion of each meeting, agreements were reached. In America, groups of concerned legislators have tried to pass bills that align with these numerous  international agreements. But, McConnell has done everything in his power to block each bill. In fact, it was Mitch McConnell who convinced Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Under Mitch McConnell and the GOP’s indifference, carbon has seen a staggering jump from 345 PPM in 1985 to the newly released 415 PPM in 2019. Hundreds of thousands of innocent victims across the globe have perished as a result.

Climate Action 100+ is a group of more than 320 global investors who have formed a coalition to collectively govern an excess of $33 trillion in assets for the purpose of:

  • improving management
  • cutting carbon
  • strengthening corporate financial disclosure about climate

The group is lead by a Steering Committee that has ten members. The additional member roles and functions are broken into five Engagement Working Groups, one group for each of the five main participating continents.

  • Asia
  • Australasia
  • Europe
  • Multi-region
  • North America

The North America Engagement Working Group is overseen by Ceres, who’s motto, “Sustainability is the bottom line,” sums up their mission.

Through superior organization, significant assets, and a life-and-property-threatening purpose, does anyone doubt that Climate Action 100+ won’t be able to leap tall buildings and move a few mountains… coal mountains to be specific. Good luck! We’ll be keeping a watch on the progress.

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Exxon Shareholder Majority Rejects Climate Action Responsibility | Votes for High Profit at World’s Expense

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

American publicly traded global fossil fuel companies are in for a turbulent next twelve months. Exxon was feeling this rough ride at it’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday May 29, 2019. Two of its largest shareholders were demanding climate action accountability and threatened to wrangle the support of fellow shareholders and vote the directors out.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300The New York State Common Retirement Fund, led by Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, along with The Church of England led the proxy fight. And although they may have missed their targeted goal of outright removal, they successfully increased shareholder support for climate responsibility. More eyes will now be closely following decision makers, and tweeting about their objections.

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The Church of England, another large Exxon shareholder, believes in ethical finance. They’ve made their shock and frustration with Exxon’s refusal to act on #climatechange very public.

“This has been a very difficult AGM for Exxon and a warning shot to management.” ~Edward Mason, Church of England

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Climate Action 100+ is a force to be reckoned with. This powerful group of 324 #climate focused international investors, control $33.4 trillion in assets. They have a reach far beyond America’s political divide with a proven ability to move mountains. American conservative investors who aren’t paying attention may find their political allegiance selling them short in the long run, maybe even the short run depending on where the next Category 4 or 5 hurricane or tornado strikes.

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Exxon’s press release, following their shareholder’s meeting  on May 29, 2019, stated: “ExxonMobil expects to increase annual earnings potential more than 140 percent and double potential annual cash flow from operations by 2025 from 2017 adjusted earning, assuming a 2017 oil price of $60 per barrel adjusted for inflation based on 2017 margins.” Seeing numbers like 140% and a doubling of “potential cash flow” without a concrete plan for climate action, is a clear statement that Exxon views profits as far more important than cutting carbon.

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The climate action world does not agree with Exxon’s disregard for their responsibility to decrease Exxon’s carbon footprint. The climate focused public will happily avoid Exxon gas stations, and instead choose Shell and BP. If dollars are the only way to connect with Exxon’s decision makers, the public will accept this and send our objections using dollars. No problem.

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