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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Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint May Destroy the Environment

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 8, 2021 by Attorney Michael WellsPodcast– Legal Fact and Fiction

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” China poses military, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire world. Yet, with the myriad threats it poses, one threat it has awakened, Bitcoin, threatens to shake — and possibly destroy — the environment. Although Bitcoin requires the most advanced computers performing dizzying calculations, it needs unfathomable amounts of energy, and that energy comes primarily from fossil fuels in China, namely coal. 

Home composting boosts soil health, saves our food supply, our planet, and millions of lives. We all have to get on board! 

Heart of the matter. For years Bitcoin appeared to be a passing fad and something many people were only vaguely aware of, but it is here to stay as is other cryptocurrency. And most of it is constructed or “mined” in China, which requires tons of hardware that needs energy. In China, that energy is supplied by coal based power, according to a February 5, 2021 CNBC article. Bitcoin is the 9th most valuable asset in the world, and it requires more energy than New Zealand. In fact, if Bitcoin were a country, it would rank 31st in the world for energy consumption, according to a March 19, 2021 Independent article. Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, its energy use came to the forefront in 2017, but, since that time, its energy use has quadrupled since then.

Proponents of Bitcoin, as cited in the Independent article, argue Bitcoin is “moving” towards “renewable energy,” and it will one day be a leader in renewable energy. Little evidence exists of these assertions. What is apparent, however, is the cryptocurrency market, led by Bitcoin is growing. As a currency it is attractive because its so-called block chain technology makes it unique, tough to steal, scarce, and easy to spend. The downside of that is the creation of cryptocurrency or “mining” requires computing power and vast energy sources. That computing power mainly comes from China, which relies heavily on coal however advanced their society may be. And that is a huge problem for the environment no matter how proponents want to spin it.

How this impacts you personally. If you are worried about food shortages, pandemics, cities under water, droughts, or most any other calamity flowing from climate change, then the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should worry you because they rely so heavily on fossil fuels, namely coal. Until Bitcoin derives its energy from renewable energy sources, it will continue to be an environmental threat, a threat that grows larger as the demand for Bitcoin increases.

What you can do. The best way to lessen the Bitcoin environmental threat is not to buy stock in the company. Another way is not to use the currency or be involved in “mining” it. In addition, tell people it is a threat because many people are probably unaware Bitcoin poses such a threat.

Next Steps:

  • Learn as much as possible about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies;
  • Do not purchase Bitcoin stock shares or fractions of shares; 
  • Learn more about renewable energy; and
  • Contact your local, state, and federal officials and let them know how you feel about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Adding composting worms to the soil in our yards will also improve the amount of carbon we can store in the soil. Climate solutions are much easier than we realize. Act today! CLICK here.

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Keystone Pipeline Closure Means Less Toxic Oil Spills

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 27, 2021 by Attorney Michael WellsPodcast– Legal Fact and Fiction

The average person not well versed on the policy and science surrounding the Keystone Pipeline likely knows it is over 1,000 miles long running from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, and it frequently spills. It takes no more knowledge than these two facts to realize the Keystone Pipeline has always been a problem, and its closure benefits the world. 

Heart of the matter. The Keystone Pipeline pumped 800,000 barrels per day of carbon intensive “tar sands” oil from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska. The unrefined oil was then sent to Texas to be refined. According to a Vox article from March 18, 2021, Indigenous peoples from Alberta use the river, Athabasca River, that is used to mine the oil, which creates toxic waste that hurts the wildlife and pollutes the groundwater; the problem is not only environmental, though, as transient workers are linked to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a crisis worth of much more discussion than is the purview of this article. 

The same Vox article also notes the environmental  problem certainly is not limited to Canada as, most notably, in 2017, in South Dakota, 210,000 gallons of oil leaked. The problem is so bad that the Supreme Court blocked the building of the pipeline over water until a full evaluation of bodies of water could be done. Since it appears the demand for that kind of oil is dropping and in light of the environmental and safety issues caused by the pipeline, it makes clear closing the pipeline was the correct choice. 

How this impacts you personally. Perhaps the greatest threat posed by the Keystone Pipeline centers around the risk to the water supply. Specifically, in Nebraska near the Keystone Pipeline sits the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest freshwater aquifer in the United States. If an oil spill occurred near this aquifer and the water supply contaminated, it may affect the entire country with catastrophic results. In other words, it could potentially affect the entire United States water supply were the Keystone Pipeline still in existence.

What you can do. As with any fossil fuel, the less people use them, the better off the environment will be. This is why it is so important to develop alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and electric power. People can do small things to lessen dependence on oil such as turn off lights when not in use. Consider carpooling, walking, or taking the bus when you go places. There are many small things, but the more people do these things the better off everyone will be. 

Adding composting worms to the soil in our yards will dramatically improve the amount of carbon we can store in the soil. Climate solutions are much easier than we realize. Act today! CLICK here.

Next Steps:

  • Lessen your “carbon footprint” by taking small steps such as drinking from reusable bottles, cutting off lights, carpooling; 
  • Learn about the Keystone Pipeline and other oil pipelines; 
  • Consider purchasing an electric car; and 
  • Contact your local, state, and federal representatives to let them know you support green laws and regulations.

The Keystone Pipeline is shut down (for now), but that does not mean a new president will keep it shut down. Ultimately the dependence on fossil fuels is up to us, and, if we modify our behavior, it can go a long way to ending our dependence upon these fuels and greatly benefiting the environment in the process. 

Order today
! Only takes 3-4 weeks to arrive in US.

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Tulsa and Tesla: Newest Battleground in EV Fight

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 15, 2020 by Erika Browning

In 1901, oil was discovered in Tulsa—the Red Fork area to be exact, which is where my grandfather lives to this day. Within a short five years, Tulsa was declared the “Oil Capital of the World”. This title has been worn proudly by this incredible little city for well over a century. It’s a source of pride that locals have rigs on their land or receive mineral rights for oil supplies.

Beyond Tulsa’s history, its present is also wrapped up in oil. Conoco Phillips is headquartered just a short 45 minutes away in Bartlesville. Oil giants like Waite Phillips, and William Skelly made astronomical amounts of money off the oil that sits underneath the city. When oil prices dip, the effects are felt economically by thousands of Oklahomans. Financial investments depreciate, jobs are on the cutting board, and families worry about paying bills. And that’s just a threat that can be seen coming—let alone when an unforeseen shock to the system occurs. The latter effect was painfully felt when my husband’s company laid off a significant number of its workers during the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This is a company that hasn’t had such a layoff in its entire 100 years.

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Twitter – @GovStitt

Despite its reliance on oil, Tulsa is also a thriving, progressive city. Citizens are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of life. I often call Tulsa “my little purple mecca in a desperately red state”. In June 2020, it was announced that Tulsa was in the final running for Elon Musk’s new Tesla truck plant—against Austin, TX. While I do sincerely love the diversity and culture in Austin, Tulsa desperately needs this.

The Tesla Cybertruck Gigafactory would bring in up to 10,000 jobs to a city that deserves to be appreciated. Tulsa offers the romantic pull of Route 66, a diverse populus and a storied history of hard working men and women. There are currently several charging stations for electric vehicles in the Tulsa area, with many more planned as the need arises. With the apparent reversal of our local energy dependence on the horizon, some die-hard oil folk might be resistant to the idea of Tesla being such a prominent fixture in Tulsa. But I assure you, more citizens are in complete support of this move than not.

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Twitter – @Tulsa4Tesla

Why can’t oil and renewable energy coexist? Sure, the goal is ultimately to end our dependence on fossil fuels, especially if we have any hope of leaving a sustainable planet for future generations. One thing I have learned about my fellow citizens is this: we are reluctant to change but when given the right guidance and tools, we don’t need to be afraid. It could be just the step we need to kickstart climate change in the right direction in one of the most conservative, oil-dependant states in the US.

Oklahomans aren’t stupid, we are proud. We are a large group of people who have had to adapt for generations. Change may take a bit more time, and we are behind the coastal states, but I believe this could make a great impact in leading to change. I also firmly believe that should the country see such a deep red, oil loving state turn its sights to EVs, it could snowball through to the rest of the red states. ♻️

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