Big Oil v the World, BBC iPlayer, Editor Ella Newton,Director Jane McMullen, and Series Producer Dan Edge.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlv1/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-1-denial

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlv7/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-2-doubt

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlvk/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-3-delay

Your children are going to die. Here’s why.

‘We must not only go to zero emissions, we must actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere’ (italics around text are Peter Wadhams (2016) A Farewell to Ice).

‘As we inflict violence on the planet to the point of mortality, we inflict violence on ourselves, to the point of our mortality. A dead planet will result in dead people, and a people and/or its leaders who are psychologically and/or ethically desensitised to the consequences of this Terran violence have no chance of long-term survival.’

 

NOTES

Credits

Role Contributors:

Director Jane McMullen

Series Producer                Dan Edge

Editor Ella Newton

1) Denial 2) Doubt 3) Delay.

The story of what the fossil fuel industry knew about climate change more than four decades ago.

 

Scientists who worked for the biggest oil company in the world, Exxon, reveal the warnings they sounded in the 1970s and early 1980s about how fossil fuels would cause climate change – with potentially catastrophic effects. Drawing on thousands of newly discovered documents, the film goes on to chart in revelatory and forensic detail how the oil industry went on to mount a campaign to sow doubt about the science of climate change, the consequences of which we are living through today.

 

2022 is set to be a year of unprecedented climate chaos across the planet. As the world’s leading climate scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issue new warnings about climate change and the soaring cost of fuel highlights the world’s ongoing dependence on fossil fuels, this series details exactly how we got her

Narrator. For more than 150 years, oil and gas has played a critical role in our society. Improving human lives. Raising standards of living. Enabling unprecedented economic growth.

What do you do when you learn that the product you make threatens the entire planet?

More than 40 years ago, oil industry scientists warned that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change.

What are we going to do?

This is the story of how big oil went on to fool the world.

They realised it was going to be an existential threat to their business, but they made a deeply unethical decision.

They lied.

This campaign of denial brought thirty-odd years’ of profit at the expense of the planet.

Part 1. Denial.

This film is based on a year of investigative research, over 100 interviews and thousands of newly discovered documents.

No executives from ExxonMobil or leading industry groups agreed to be interviewed.

1978

New York.

Ed Garvey. Took the best graduates. When they offered me a position in their research department, to me it was a really good fit.

Salary $18 600 which in those days was a lot of money for somebody fresh out of school.

They wanted to become an oil company. They were flush with funds. The oil companies were doing really well in the seventies. So they wanted to move into other fields related to energy. The project I worked on was ‘bluesky’. Research for the sake of doing research. They weren’t going to make any money out of it.

For somebody 22 or 23, I was really happy there. It was a great place to be working.

[paper from Exxon]

Proposed Exxon research programme to help assess the greenhouse effect.

Presented by myself, Edward A Garvey, Henry Shaw, Wallace S.Brocker,  Tara Takahashi

Columbia University, 26th March 1979.

Programme goal: Use Exxon expertise and facilities to help determine the likelihood of a global greenhouse gas effect.

Rationale for Exxon Involvement: Develop expertise to assess how greenhouse gas effects business. Form a responsible team that can carry bad news, if any, to the corporation.

There were uncertainties, but the uncertainties were when, how fast?

That’s what we were looking at. If we didn’t reduce fossil fuels in a significant fashion, we were going to be facing significant climate change in the future. 

Exxon knew. I can tell honestly, Exxon knew. I was convinced Exxon was doing this research to get a place at the table to be part of the solution. Not so that we could deny the problem.   

1982. The market is too poor. We can no longer afford this level of research. We’re going to keep the modelling team together. [Project on SS Esso Atlantic, C02 Greenhouse Project terminated]

I know they did some good work with Columbia University. But the place that I worked was gone.

When Exxon retrenched and sold off its lithium batteries, sold off solar energy.

These are all important lines for the company and you’ve just getting rid of them. You’re not trying to shrink them down.  We have to make do with a smaller budget. No. We’re gone.

 

Dr Richard Werthamer, Manager Exxon Research and Engineering 1979-1982.

Exxon wasn’t just the biggest oil company in existence, it was also the biggest company period, in existence. It did business all over the world. It was enormous. And the resources were gigantic. And it had a very good reputation.

Eg Exxon nucleur, photocopiers, solar,

1982.

Now we’re in 1982. And in 1982, oil prices dropped abruptly. The bottom fell out of the oil market. And Exxon was having a hard time staying profitable. And it began layoffs. One of the things that was dropped overboard was the tanker (monitoring greenhouse gas) project.  

1984.

Lee R. Raymond, senior vice president, oversight of research networks and engineering.  Raymond believed Exxon would always be an oil and gas company. It would never be anything else.

Professor Martin Hoffert.

Back in the mid-70s, I was working for NASA, it was a very exciting time, because NASA was sending probes all over the solar system. And the information that was coming back was very interesting. Things that we never knew. For example, we found out that Venus was very hot. That it was at least 700 degrees there and the most plausible explanation came from the composition of Venus’s atmosphere. This was almost 100% carbon dioxide.

It was a kind of unified idea in the terrestrial planets of our solar system that greenhouse gas was caused by high concentrations of carbon dioxide. At the same time, some research scientists were making the observations of carbon dioxide in our own atmosphere. We had seen this curve of increasing carbon dioxide becoming classic icon of the carbon-dioxide problem. We’re seeing it keep going on a few points per million every year. And we can attribute that to greenhouse gases, primarily, fossil fuel burning.

All of the models showed that the average temperature of the earth was warming.

The question came up, what are we going to do? Over 85% of our energy was generated by fossil fuels.

And about that time is when I had the opportunity to work as a consultant with the biggest company in the world at the time. Exxon.

We ran computer programmes. We compared date with what nature was doing. And we compared our results with other results to see if there was a consensus.  Those papers would then get presented at meetings. And there would be this sort of brick-by-brick advance of how our system worked.

Everything that we studied was basically consistent with the finding that the earth was going to warm significantly.

And we were just trying to say how it would warm. I can only speak about the ER engineering group. Everybody accepted it. Roger Cohen completely accepted it. Roger Cohen (R.W.Cohen) was the manager of the group I was consulting for (Theoretical and Mathematical Science Laboratory, Exxon Research and Engineering, Corporate Research Science Labs, Director Duane G. Levine).

He passed our results on to higher levels of management. 2nd September 1982. Because he’s writing to his boss to what the guys are doing. Unanimous agreement in the scientific community, temperature increase of this magnitude would bring about significant changes in the earth’s climate, including rainfall distribution and alterations in the biosphere. Our results are in accord with most results in the field. [Metadata]. And are subject to the same uncertainties.

And here, he’s saying we should keep doing research because it can inform our decision. Our ethical responsibility to permit the publication of the scientific literature. Indeed, to do otherwise would be a breach of Exxon’s public position and ethical creed and honesty and integrity.

Cental China, 2021. [floods]

Austin, Texas.

Exxonmobil Archives.

Kert Davies, Climate Activist and Investigator

Sometime in 2000, Exxon gave their library to the University of Texas. Many truckloads of documents. Perhaps it was a PR effort to show this company has a proud history. And it’s all transparent. It’s all in the library.

And so, it was a revelation when these two teams of journalists, one from Inside Climate and News and another publishing in the LA Times, uncovered documents showing how deep the conversation was about climate change within Exxon.

By the nineties they were the kingpins of denial. We had on idea they actually knew the science. I’ve become a curator of documents. The evidence from the documents is that many of the industrial sectors were studying this independently.

Members of the auto industry, including General Motors. The Electric Utilities. The Coal industry. 

But Exxon had a deeper programme.

[filmed interview in 2005 with Lee R. Raymond, Chairman and CEO, 1993-2005 ]

Q Alternative fuel. There was a time in the late seventies, when your company said, is there an alternative fuel?  So we don’t have to burn fossil fuels and put all that CO2 in the atmosphere.

A: We were the first oil company that really spent a lot of money looking at all that.

Q And the results were what?

A None of these technologies and we looked at everything. I mean we looked at…But none of these technologies were going to be competitive against oil.

Q Financially competitive?

A Right.

 

It’s amazing. It’s a call to action. They’re realising it’s going down. We need to be in the room talking about uncertainty and downplaying the urgency. That is the call.

There focus is to try and emphasise uncertainty.

And we can show that they pretty much did that in the following years.

David Harwood, aide to Tim Worth 1986-1993

1988.

The year climate change moved from science journals into the realms of public policy. I was a 26 year old in the Senate office. He said you want to work in the environment, because that’s where all the action going to be.

Senator Worth said I want to write a piece of legislation that addresses global warming. The first person I reached out to was Dr Hansen (James E. Hansen) Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA.

My response was pretty immediate. This is a big deal. We need to get working on a hearing.

February 1988, Seattle and other parts of the North had their driest February in history.

March 1988, reservoirs 45-80% below normal levels.

By the spring of 1988, there was a full-scale drought.

April 1988. The earliest fire season in memory.

It was my perception that the media wanted to explain this drought. And seemed to be at a tipping point on the issue of climate change.

 Greenhouse effect and global change (23rd June 1988).

There was a buzz of the hearing transcript—historic.

[Mainline news report] cut to:

Some experts are saying the whole world is heating up because of a global greenhouse effect.

The implications for every human, every animal, every plant on earth are enormous.

New York Times (24th June 1988) graph. Front page. ‘Sharp Cut in Burning of Fossil Fuels is Urged to Battle Shift in Climate by Philip Shabecoff.

Talking heads on TV. There are no easy solutions. We’re talking about gas and coal and oil.

 

It was as if the rocket had lifted off.

Cut to:

Pragmatists would argue we cannot change our energy habits overnight. Scientists say we better get going.

I felt tremendous progress was being made eg. Earth Day Rally, 1990.

There was greater awareness. There was public policy emerging. There was international negotiations developing

Cut to:

Margaret Thatcher: ‘The problem of global climate change is one that affects us all. We can’t just do nothing.’   

 

Professor James Hansen.

A lot had changed between the middle nineteen- seventies when we first got interested in the problem and the nineteen-eighties. The late nineteen-eighties. Because the real world was beginning to show signs that human were affecting climate. That implies we’re really going to get a significant change a few decades down the stream.

The evening before I was lying on my bed in Washington [1988] writing my testimony and listening to the Yankee’s baseball game. And I wrote my testimony out by hand.

I do think scientists have a moral obligation to point out the implications of their findings and try and do it as clearly as possible.

Senate Hearing, 3rd June 1988.

I would like to draw three main conclusions.

i)The earth is warmer in 1988 than any time in the history of instrumental measurements.

ii) That global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe, with a large degree of confidence, a cause and effect relationship to greenhouse gases.

iii) Our computer climate simulations indicate that the energy is alone large enough to begin to affect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves.

Altogether it presents a very strong case that the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now.

 

Tim Wirth, Senator (Democrat) 1987-1993

Our climate is changing very dramatically. And it’s time for us to start acting on it. We were probably one of the first to bang away at it.

Congress Hearing before the committee on climate

I had a sense it was going to be a good hearing and his [Hansen’s] statement would be important. You could feel it in the room. That this was a significant moment.

That was a kind of magical sentence. This was not some environmental group or cabal. This was probably the leading climate scientist in the federal government making his statement.

It kinda opened up the world. And you could feel this feeling of wow. This is really going to change. But the minute targets and timetables began to appear then they were magic signals to the industry. Oh-oh, this is serious.

We didn’t know how devastating the counterattack would be.

Dr Terie Yosie, Vice President Health and Environment American Petroleum Institute (API)

I’ve collected documents from every place I worked. My basement looks like a trash bin and fire hazard but neverthess.

Cut to:  earlier appearance before

The API was at that time tremendously influential. It was the chief lobbying organisation for the petroleum industry. And had representation from some of the major oil companies. Exxon. Mobil. Chevron. Shell. BP. Companies like that.

By early 1989, the newspapers and television were bombarding API with questions such as what do you think of Hansen’s testimony?

What is your view of climate change in general?

What do you think needs to be done about climate change?

The decision was made that a briefing needed to be made for industry CEO’s.

[paper]

Global warming the knowns and unknowns:

By Dr Terie F. Yosie Presentation before the API Executive Committee, January 1989.

There is scientific consensus that the atmosphere is changing due to human activities. Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising.

There are three schools of thought that characterise the public debate over global warming;

One that reflects API’s thinking is was by a scientist Patrick Michaels  article in the Washington Post,

[Climatology: The Greenhouse Climate of Fear]

‘Our policies should be no more drastic than the scientific conclusions they are based on. And at present, the problems with the computer models… and the temperature histories…

Pat Michaels was not a major voice in the debate about climate change. But I think he was useful to the industry as an external voice of doubt. [useful fool]. Creating more scepticism about policy-makers taking action.

In that vein, API must become an active participant in the creation of policy debate. We’re well on our way to doing that.

We must make policymakers fully aware of the uncertainties surrounding the global-warming issue.

API statement to programme maker:

[contemporary]

The API told us critics were ‘cherry-picking information from decades ago to support a misleading pre-determined narrative’ and as climate science has evolved, so has the industry.

Al Gore Vice President 1993-2001.

1992.

Bill Clinton introducing Senator Al Gore of Tennessee. Running mate working on environmental challenges we desperately need to address. Together we will finally give the US a real environmental Presidency.

You were in the White House. Do you feel a sense of responsibility?

Absolutely, that’s why I ran the ticket to run. But that was the principal task I set for myself entering the White House. And I went to work right away.

Cut to:

Clinton speech:

Today I announce our mission to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to their 1990 levels by the year 2000.

Professor Patrick Michaels.

I’m not a—and I hate this word—I’m not a denier.  I’m a look-warmer. Totally different. People get that wrong. The look-warm view. Which means climate change is real. People have something to do with it. But it’s probably not the end of the world. I’m probably a look-warm libertarian too.

Cut to:

Young Professor Michaels, Environmental Science appearing on CNN.

There’s a real problem with global warming apocalyptic projection. The earth may, in fact, be going in the other direction.

And until we solve that problem we should not take expensive measures based on renaturation.

John Passacantando, Executive Director, Ozone Action, 1992-2000.

When Clinton/Gore were elected there was widespread hope. But the honeymoon just didn’t last long. I remember seeing in the press this sceptic S. Fred Singer saying global warming wasn’t a problem for the planet (Environmental Hysteria: The sky is falling! The ozone is depleting! Over-regulate business! Spend Money! Spend Money! Spend Money!)

Cut to news headline:

A respectable body of opinion in the scientific community believes that any climate warming is as likely to be as beneficial as harmful.

First Fred Singer. Then Patton(?) Michaels. You start to think, who are these people and where are they coming from. Oh, interesting. They’re funded by Exxon foundation. The coal-fired powered utilities. Western Fuels Association. Global Climate Coalition.

And they’re funding climate deniers.

Eg John Shales, Executive Director of Global Climate Coalition. We are not an ad-hoc group.

But it consisted of every major manufacturer that produced or consumed fossil fuels. And every major company that was in the fossil-fuel industry. And so it’s a considerable coalition of business interests.

The Global Climate Coalition is seeding doubt—everywhere.

Fogging the air with these counterarguments that are contradictory.

Nonsensical. And environmentalists don’t really know what’s hitting them.

[ from Donald L. Rheem II, media representation for GCC]

You want to make an assumption it’s a meritocracy. A good argument will prevail. It will displace a bad argument. But what the geniuses of the PR firm that worked for these big fossil fuel companies know is that truth has nothing to do with who wins the argument.

If you say something enough times, people will begin to believe it. 

 

 

 

David Harwood, aide to Tim Worth 1986-1993 US government Climate Change Advisor 1993-97.

You saw that he had worked on tobacco. A number of other issues. He was a specialist in denial. I thought that’s odd. I was aware that this emerging industry of naysayers was growing. This effort to cast doubt. 

You had reams of material coming from the government. (eg US Department of Commerce: National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]) at NASA) This expanding network of people working on this day in and day out. Saying this was a legitimate issue. (eg. Estimates of Warming Grow More Precision And Warn of Disaster). And we needed to do something about it. 

Ontheotherhand you had two or three that went around to conferences and said ‘I’m not sure!’ ‘Oh, maybe there’s clouds.’  (eg Global Warming, Republican Study Group. I’d like to show you some satellite images from the 1970s until now (next slide). Nothing.

Terry F. Yosie, Senior Vice President, Harrison PR firm.  

The Global Climate Coalition put out a bid for a contractor to provide communication services. I’d left API in the late spring and I’d came over to the Harrison firm for public relations.

(Our client list includes 80 of the Fortune 500 listed companies)

Developed exclusively to environmental issues. I was asked to be part of the pitch team because I was well known in the petroleum industry.

10th August 1993. Communication Proposal prepared for the Global Coalition [E. Bruce Harrison Company]

Scientists, economists and other noted academics carry greater credibility among media and general public than [fossil fuel representatives]

Communication efforts should be directed towards expanding the platform towards third-party spokespersons. You recruit that person. You pay that person. (350 000 plus people) to give a speech or write an op-ed.

The Global Colition would do the background work of placing that ad, or maybe editing it (eg Nashville Banner article 21st April 1993 by John R Christy ‘Let’s cool the rhetoric about global warming’.)

 

  

Don Rheem, Global Coalition Account Manager, Harrison PR firm 1993-97.

I was brought in to specifically to handle press relations for the global climate coalition. A lot of reporters were assigned to write stories. They were struggling to deal with the complexity of the issue. So I would write backgrounders so reporters could read them and get up to speed.

(Provide primers: global climate coalition: eg Science and global climate change: What do we know? The Uncertainties).

I met some really brilliant climatologist and meteorologists. I met Pat Michaels (Patrick Michaels). He struck me as someone who was very smart. He loved talking about this issue.

(eg. Article: The popular vision of climate apocalypse is wrong’.)

Q Have you any late night worries that you were being played by a vested interest in delaying action, blocking action, creating doubts in the public?

A The background I was writing. The communications I was conveying for the GCC was not a popular narrative. There’s no question about that.

There was a lot we didn’t know at the time. Part of my role was to highlight that. 

Professor Patrick Michaels.

Q What was your relationship with the Global Climate Coalition?

A Oh God. Not much.

Q You were on their scientific advisory board?

A Yeh, what does that mean? I don’t think we ever had a meeting.

Q I’d say you did?

A We did?

It wasn’t much of a relationship at all. When you bring up GCC, I think, wait a minute, who were those guys?

Q How did the funding you received from the fossil-fuel industry impact the work you were able to do and the work you undertook.

A Didn’t what I do. What I think.

Q How much do you think you received from the industry?

A I don’t know.

Q You feel that in a way you were sort of used by them…that you were…?

A… no I was using them. You got that wrong. What, I mean, I’m somewhat verbal and I like to write and I have an overestimation of my ability to… sense of humour. But can you imagine someone giving you loads of money and telling you write whatever you want in two weeks? We had a blast.

(eg. Article: Is there any warming? While there are only 15 complete years (1979-93) satellite data to compare with ground-based data…)

(eg. Hot Air)

(eg. Climate Overkill)

(eg Greenhouse Effect: Fact or Fiction?)

We weren’t doing what we were told. We were doing what we wanted.

(eg Climate Cover-Up)

(eg Benign Greenhouse Gas)

Cut to:

California 2018: Wildfires.

Cut to:

1995. Update: Warming Up.

Charlene Hunter Walsh has that story: It’s warmer than ever and last year set a record. And that’s what British meteorologist today.

Cut to;

BBC News. The Met office says the last 12 months have been the warmest since records began in the seventeenth century.

Cut to:

We have ice slowly melting. We have sea levels rising.

Dr Ben D. Santer.

World Meteorological Organisation/ United Nations Environmental Programme. Intergovernmental Programme on Climate Change. [IPCC]

We knew in the 1990s but IPCC says it’s too soon to tell definitely.  Whether there is or is not human cause for global warming.

Five years later, a very different finding.

People at different institutes, using different statistical method, models, formally identified a human cause of global warming. 

This was a paradigm shift in scientific understanding of the reality of human effects on climate.

I was 40 years old. I’d spent one-and-a-half years working at lead author for chapter 8, (Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Cause) the IPCC’s second assessment report. 

We were in plenary in the beautiful Palacio De Congresos De Madrid. Some of the [fossil fuel] industry scientists were involved in the process.

Eg. H.S. Khesgi was there from the beginning of our work right through to the end.

The GCC and the Saudis and Kuwaitis dominated the plenary sessions. Then if you say something is uncertain, then it can be overturned.   

Which led to these heated exchanges. Because uncertainty is an irreducible part of climate science.

The notion of uncertainty you can’t say anything useful about anything is preposterous.

There were these extraordinary back-and-forth discussions and my job was to implement those changes. We had discussed and agreed upon.

Eg Climate Change, Prepared by Working Group 1 The Science of Climate Change 1995 by all countries in Madrid was 12 sections [but could be summarised in one sentence].

‘The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate’. 

Madrid was a triumph of the science. The science won. It was a big deal.

Cut to:

News headline Global Warming. Hi I’m Jo-ey Chan: An international group of scientists we can blame ourselves for global warming.

Cut to:

ABC News. Global Warming. 2500 scientists from around the world have finally agreed with one another. And burning oil and coal is causing the world’s temperature to rise and which may bring with it environmental disaster.

Cut to:

Certainly gives more ammunition to those that believe government should oversee the fossil fuels industry and move away from…

In retrospect those 12 words were the handwriting on the wall (experts agree).

What happened next was the GCC came onto my radar screen. In the spring of 1996 they published this report.

‘The IPCC Institutional Scientific Cleansing’.  

They were arguing I’d purged all uncertainty from the document. Which was patently untrue. Twenty percent of chapter 8 was specifically devoted to the discussion of uncertainties.

‘Changes quite clearly have the obvious political purpose of cleansing the important information that would lead policy makers and the public to be very cautious, if not sceptical, about blaming human activities for climate change over the past century.’

I had grandparents who were cleansed because of their religion during the Second World War. People were being cleansed because of their religion in Bosnia. And the GCC threw this odious scientific [jibe] I was guilty of a crime.

‘These revisions raise very serious questions about whether the IPCC had compromised, or even lost, its scientific integrity.’

Folks were calling for my dismissal with dishonour from my positon. A gentleman intimated that I was about to be indicted by the Hague International Court of Justice for ‘falsification of international scientific documents’.

I was in a fight for my professional life.

It was a very lonely place.

This attack on individual’s decency. Their integrity. Honour. Involved high, personal cost. And the GCC knew what they were doing.

Sow those seeds of doubt and watch them grow and mature. And they did.

 

 

Don Rheem, Global Coalition Account Manager, Harrison PR firm 1993-97.

 

There’s a level of detail here I don’t remember. But I do remember the gist of this. Where things were said at one point in the process and then they disappeared the next. And that struck me as troubling. And so I noted that to the folk in the GCC.

Cut to:

Report by Dennis Wamsted, 22nd May 1996. ‘Revision to key report understates climate change uncertainties.’

‘rewritten without proper authority’

This stuff caught on like wildfire.  

Eg Patrick Michaels (Bait and Switch: IPCC pares down the consensus) devoted substantial time to amplifying the GCC’s allegations. Others picked up that report and repeated bits of it. Things became worse when (The Wall Street Journal 12th June 1996, A Major Deception on “Global Warming”) Professor Frederick Seitz wrote and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I was accused of the worst abuse of the peer-review system in Professor Seitz had seen in his sixty years as a scientist.

Q That document set in motion a number of public attacks on the leader of that chapter. (Ben D. Santer). He was particularly shaken by the idea he was guilty of scientific cleansing.

A Yeh, that wouldn’t be terminology by the way I would have used. What other used and how it was used was outside my control. My purview. It troubles me to hear it had such an impact on an individual. That’s not something I would want to do to anybody.

 

Kert Davies, Climate Activist and Investigator

Up until the mid-90s, until he became chairman of the board (Exxon) Lee Raymonds is an ardent denier.

Cut to: Lee R Raymonds (Chairman of Exxon) speaking on CNN. ‘The scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate’.

And here he is absolutely refuting what his own scientists know. He’s saying it’s so uncertain. We should research it. But we shouldn’t take any action.

Professor Martin Hoffert, Exxon Climate Consultant 1981-87.

What’s the date of this? Is it 1982? No this is ’96. [laughs] I’m just flabbergasted by this. ‘The unproven theory’… this policy if implemented has ominous economic implications… yet scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect global climate. It’s just total baloney. This person should never be CEO of an energy company.

I think it’s outrageous he should say such a thing, because he has a world class climate and carbon cycle research group. In his own lab ( Exxon Research & Engineering lab c1978). He could pick up the phone and ask one of the people in that group if that statement was true and they would tell him that it isn’t.  He’s using something that is a lie to justify a policy that is bad for the world.

I’d have to say on an ethical basis it’s actually evil.

I think he should be ashamed of himself. And I think he should apologise to the world for saying that.

Lee Raymond did not respond to our request for an interview or statement. Until his retirement from Exxon-Mobil in 2005, he continued to deny human-caused climate change.

Exxon-Mobil told us ‘it’s public statements about climate change, are, and always have been, truthful, fact-based, transparent and consistent with the contemporary understanding of climate science.’

Al Gore, Vice President 1993-2001.  17th March 1995, talking on CCN.  [George Washington University]

Two weeks from now, this issue of climate change will be discussed by more than 120 different countries in Berlin.

I wanted the USA to lead the world to agree on a set of global initiatives and policies.

The US is committed to reaching 1990 levels of emissions by the year 2000.

The question was who goes first.

It was in no way possible to get a global treaty with the proposal that the poorest countries in the world would have to take the same obligations as the wealthy.

That was the formula the world agrees as the only way to make progress.

Cut to John Major speech. We will be calling for cuts to between five and ten percent less than nineteen nineties’ emissions. 

Cut to Kyoto, Japan.

Clinton and Japanese PM. Did agree on caps…

But the fossil fuel companies took that feature of the agreement and they made that a bit more politically salient issue which they used to great effect.

 

 

 

David Harwood, aide to Tim Worth 1986-1993 US government Climate Change Advisor 1993-97.

We said the US is committed to targets and timetables. I mean that was obviously a massive threshold for us to cross.

Cut to: Berlin 1995 Conference. UN Convention on Climate Change.

The idea was that those who had developed the most and contributed the most historically to the problem should step up to the plate first in the effort to reduce emissions.

I feel that the Clinton-Gore administration wasn’t able to deliver on the promise of American leadership.

The door closed for the next ten years. So it was a significant missed opportunity.

John Passacantando, Executive Director, Ozone Action, 1992-2000.

This is the strategy of the grand fog.

Cut to: GCC film October 1994-December 1995.

A plan by PR firm Harrison after Berlin. Prepare for the GCC, 11th July 1995. Third-party recruitment, op-ed placement, new emphasis on economists.

There are firms they can pay who will say, you know, ‘Solving global warming will cost lots of jobs, will be higher energy costs’.

This is the next layer of fog.

 

Paul M. Bernstein. Charles Rivers Associates.

In 1996, I finished up grad-school.  Accepted a job with Charles Rivers Associates. We were doing work for the US petroleum institute, so they had a particular point of view. If the US goes ahead and reduces its emissions, and countries like China and India don’t do anything, the US puts itself at a competitive disadvantage. To try and put numbers on what those damages would do. How much they would hurt. I think it’s important. Right.

Eg: World Economic Impact of US Commitment to Medium Term Carbon Emission Limits.

[Jan 1997)

I wrote a couple of papers on our findings.

I had a general surprise about how much attention it got. It was finding its way into the airwaves.

There was great pressure from the clients to talk about jobs.

We tried to tell clients we really can’t measure jobs accurately. But, you know, you have to get paid at the end of the day. So, we ended up doing the best we could: Talking about jobs. But you know. You don’t really know [if they’d asked to talk about leprechauns and rainbows they’d have measured them in pots of gold].

I’d misgivings about telling half the story, right?

What do we get if we reduce emissions? We get less damage from climate change, right. We’re not putting that in there.

Yeh, I wish I weren’t a part of that. Looking back. Delaying action.

Clearly, I was on the wrong side of history.

Cut to John Shales on CNN, GCC Executive Director.

If we’re talking about jobs we’re talking about probably five, six, several hundred thousand jobs a year.

Neither API or Charles Rivers Associates responded to questions about their work together.

Andrew Card, Auto Manufacturers Association.

It would wreck the US Auto industry and it would wreck the economy.

Cut to: William O’Keefe, American Petroleum Institute on CNN.

Every independent economic study has come to the same conclusion. The impact is negative. And it’s going to cost jobs.

Cut to:

Hurricane. Louisanna 2021 Exxon forecourt of petrol station.

News report. 18 weather-related disasters with a total of $1 billion each. Now scientists warm these natural disasters could push the nation’s infrastructure to the brink.

 

The IMF’s job is to spot the economic dangers that lie ahead. It believes that climate change is one of them.

November 1996, Grand Hyatt hotel, Washington DC.

Please welcome our chairman, Lee Raymond. American Petroleum Institute [applause]

A United Nation’s effort it moving towards a decision in 1997. The continuing use of fossil fuels based on the untrue theory that they effect the earth’s climate. So it’s critical that we in the industry provide a voice of common-sense on this important issue. So we must continue to work for more unity and cooperation. One example is our close cooperation with the automobile industry. We recently became engaged in the global climate issue and are active as hell. 

Cut to:

Kert Davies, Climate Activist and Investigator

In the rush to the Kyoto Protocol there’s a massive effort to stop it. To kill it by industry. They know this is the big fight.

So this is a page from a briefing document and the title is ‘The Dilemma for Congress’. ‘A draft resolution is attached for your consideration’.

John Passacantando, Executive Director, Ozone Action, 1992-2000.

Cut to caption, example: ‘Hot Air Cold Truth.’

You’re seeing these ad campaigns. Denial- ad-campaigns. TV ads. Print ads. (eg.The U.N. Global Treaty isn’t Global: Americans will pay the price.) There’s op-eds. Millions and millions of dollars’ worth of advertising.  

Questioning why the US is obliged to do more than everyone else.

It’s not global. And it won’t work.

And everybody sung from the same song sheet.

Then, out of nowhere the Senate issues this Byrd-Hegel resolution that passes 95-0. Once there’s an international treaty it has to come back to be ratified. 

In a nutshell, the Byrd-Hegel resolution said the Senate wouldn’t sign on. It just put a storm cloud about negotiations even before the meeting began.

S.Res 98

25th July 1997

Senator Chuck Hagel, bipartisan position is rejects a proposed new global climate treaty.

So the American Manufacturers Association [draft 7th May 1997] is putting forth, I think, [Sense of the Senate Resolution on Climate Change] to pre-emptively kill the Kyoto Accord. 

Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) Senator 1997-2004 (Republican).

I wasn’t going to support a treaty that bound this country that would affect our economy and everything else, when we didn’t have the absolute scientific evidence. First of all, to prove it. And secondly, and maybe even more important, to let all these other countries off. That was my position then. It may be my position now.

Cut to:   25th July 1997

‘If anything has become clear during congressional hearings on this issue, it is the science is unclear. Is that the scientific community has not even come close to definitively proving we have a problem.’

I’m not a scientist. I’m not a climatologist. I listened to a lot of people. I asked for a lot of opinions. I had scientists coming in. I’d other people come in.

Q What were they saying to you in those meetings? And did you learn anything that helped to shape your views?

A Well, they made their case. They made their point. I wasn’t surprised by anything I heard.

Q You met Lee Raymond? CEO Exxon Mobil. What relationship did you have with him?

A Well, Lee Raymond was a South Dakota boy. I remember that. I didn’t have a close relationship with him. But I listened to him. He was head of the largest oil company in the country. I listened to everybody’s opinions.

You mean the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, they didn’t draft that. That resolution was decided by us, by the Senators.

John Passacantando, Executive Director, Ozone Action, 1992-2000.

 

Q We’d unearthed documents that showed a series of meetings and briefings that Chuck Hagel received.

[passes transcript]

A Oh, wow.

10th March 1997, Memo from Brenda Hart, America Petroleum Institute Lunch. They’re hosting and going to brief him.

[Scientists don’t have a precise understanding of this issue]

Doubt. Doubt.

24th July 1997. Meeting with Ford.   Automobiles Manufacturer’s Association.

Aluminium Association.

Chemical Manufacturer’s Association.

I’m emphasising Senator Hagel. But this is happening all throughout the Senate.

It was just an unbelievable mess. He did broker a deal. And got as much out of Kyoto as he could have.

But we were not going to get steep cut out of a global agreement with all the industries fighting against them.

Cut to;

News: Delegates from the US and another 149 countries have approved the treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol. 10th December 1997.

The US industrial lobby now says any deal will be blocked in the USA.

 

Tim Wirth, Senator (Democrat) 1987-1993. Undersecretary of State and Lead Climate Negotiator 1993-Nov 1997

Cut to:

News coverage. Dec 1997. Vice President Gore is on his way to Japan to attend the Global Warming Summit. The goal of the conference is an international treaty to protect the environment.  But so far it’s been hard to find anything that can be agreed on.

I think Byrd-Hagel destroyed any hope of getting anything done in Kyoto.

The Administration went against the Byrd-Hagel resolution.  The Clinton Administration certainly didn’t want to go into open war.

Kyoto 10th December 1997

Cut to Al Gore’s speech.

To those who seek to obstruct we say: We will not allow you to put narrow special interests about the interests of all humankind.

Al Gore.

They won the battle. I was intent on them not winning the war. It became clear to me at that point that it was going to be a longer war.

25 years later.

[voice over]

It is unequivocal that human activities are responsible for climate change. That’s the finding by a new study by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on climate change.

A dire warning and a stark reality. The head of the UN referred to this as ‘Code Red for Humanity’. 

Global temperatures are the hottest in 100 000 years. And many of the effects of climate change are already irreversible.

If we want to avoid catastrophe we have to drastically cut emissions- now.

I think it’s the moral equivalent of a war crime. I think that it is in many ways the most serious crime of the post-world-war-two era.

The consequences of what they have done are just unimaginable. 

Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) Senator 1997-2004 (Republican).

Q We now know that Exxon was making a concerted effort during the 1990s to cast doubt, even though their own scientists were telling them climate-change science was sound. Do you feel that you were misled?

A Well, what we now know that some of these large oil companies positions. They lied. And yes, I was misled. Others were misled. When they had evidence in their own institutions that countered what they were saying publically. I mean, they lied.

Q If they had said that—held their hands up—and said, yes, this is real. Could it have been different?

A Oh, absolutely. It would have changed everything. I think it would have changed the average citizen’s appreciation of climate change. And mine, of course. It would have put the US and the world on a whole new track. And today we would have been so much further ahead than we are. It’s cost this country. And it cost the world.      

October 2021.

Congressional Hearing on Big Oil & Climate Disinformation.

My name is Darren Woods, I’m the chairman and chief operating officer of Exxon Corporation.

‘Exxon-Mobil has long recognised the climate change is real. And poses serious risks. But there are no easy answers. I’m not aware of any unique understand of what we had in the science. We engaged with the broader community and worked with them. To advance our own understanding. And as time passed and scientific understanding evolved so did our position.

Cut to: James Hansen?

I’m 83 years old. Three or four decades ago, we predicted it. As a scientist having those predictions come true that’s sort of the golden icon you look for.   However, as a human being, and an inhabitant of the planet earth, I’m horrified.

To watch the lack of response to this. I’m trying as much as possible  to distance myself emotionally

Q So you’re angry?

A Yes, I’m furious.

Cut to: Ed Garvey

It’s heart-breaking to me. I saw all of that potential. At least in that point in time, to really solve the problem in many different ways.

Had Exxon begun to pick up the ball and began to lead, the discussions would have been about how to do it? We had solar scientists doing research. We had research chemists doing battery research. Think about how important these sciences are to the world currently.

Parts of the world have suffered enormously. Unnecessarily so. And for something we could have done something about. Not doing anything for decades. That’s just…squandered time and we’ll pay for it.

DOUBT.

Big Oil v The World. Series 1.2 Doubt.

Even as the science grew more certain, the oil industry continued to block action to tackle climate change in the new millennium. In a revelatory interview, Christine Todd Whitman, George W Bush’s former environment chief, tells the story of how the industry successfully lobbied President Bush to reverse course on his campaign promise to regulate carbon emissions.

 

Tensions grew between two of the world’s biggest oil companies, ExxonMobil and BP, after the latter publicly called for action to tackle climate change. The election of Barack Obama provided hope for supporters of climate action, but the billionaire Koch brothers made an effort to block the new president’s attempts to pass climate change legislation, and climate denialism became the mainstream position of the Republican Party. A lawyer who worked for Kochs through this period speaks on camera for the first time.

Director Gesbeen Mohammad
Series Producer Dan Edge
Editor Brad Manning

Q What do you do when the product you make threatens the entire planet?

Cut to:

More than 40 years ago, oil industry scientists warned that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change.

Cut to:

Ms. Ocazio Cortez: This is a model from 1982, with startlingly accurate projections Mr…

A That’s correct.

Cut to:

This is the story of how Big Oil went on to fool the world.

Cut to:

Al Gore.

They realised it was going to be an existential threat to their business. But they made a deeply unethical decision.

Cut to:

[talking panellist] I don’t think science is settled. How could it be?

Cut to:

Climate sceptics and denialists were in a positon of strength. In every decisive fight, we had won.

Cut to:

[speech made by President George W.Bush jnr. We don’t know how fast climate change will happen. And even if some of our actions will

Cut to:

There was such a cosy relationshjp with the Whitehouse and the industry. They were sowing doubt. And truly casting aspersions on science.

Cut to:

Those decades of deception had created a delay in our understanding of the issue. That is irrecoverable. We can never get that time back.

Cut to:

UN says this is a code-red for humanity.

1998.

Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center.

In 1998 there was this meeting in Washington DC. It was convened by the American Petroleum Institute. Exxon was in the room. Chevron. Southern Company. With various think-tank officers, communications, right-wing libertarian professionals. And they’re hatching a plan to stop people to stop worrying about climate change.

Now be 1998 there was a clear scientific consensus. CO2 emissions are causing global warming.

Action Plan, 3rd April 1998. Situation Analysis.

The plan is a wide-ranging to install uncertainty around climate science.  Sowing doubt around the science. Their targets include media. Members of Congress, schoolteachers, average citizens.

The [Action] Plan says right at the top ‘Victory will be achieved when recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom’. 

‘Unless climate change becomes a non-issue…’

They said that it was never implemented, but what it shows is intentionality. WE NEED PEOPLE TO NOT care so much about climate change.

They want to kill the science. They need uncertainty to rule the day.

2000

Cut to:

Our country faces a big choice about the future. We are truly at a fork in the road.

Cut to:

With the help of environmental groups and industry, we will require all power to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions.

Cut to:

[voiceover] the new millennium began with a historical Presidential election. Both candidates pledged to tackle climate change. The Democrat candidate, Al Gore, had long advocated combatting global warming.

Cut to: Al Gore.

The big difference between us, I’ll never put polluters in charge of our government.

Cut to:

[voiceover] his Republican rival, George W Bush (jnr) was a former oil executive from Texas.

Cut to:

debate= Bush. ‘Global warming needs to be taken very seriously. And I take it seriously. Both of us care a lot about the environment. We may have different approaches.’

Al Gore, Presidential Candidate 2000.

During the campaign of 2000, Bush (jnr) put out a position paper and a speech saying he was all in favour of putting limits on carbon emissions.

And he was in favour of all kinds of government measures that dampened the sharp contrast [with me] that I thought was going to be very clear.

2001.

Voice over:

Whenever there’s a transition of power in Washington DC, there’s a great deal of talk about a change in culture as well.

Voice over:

Bush won the contest [he was elected] having promised to reduce the level of carbon dioxide.

Cut to:

Speech President Bush; ‘Governor [Christie] Whitman shows a consensus about environmental policy. EPA. She and I share the same point of view.

Voice over: Whitman at the Environmental Protection Agency, [EPA] to turn his pledge into environmental action.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

I grew up on a farm. And when you grow up on a farm, you see the impact humans have on it. Very directly. I did a lot of things to improve things here in the state of New Jersey when I was governor. So it was a good fit from that perspective. We had talked about climate change before I accepted the positon.

We were the largest emitter. If we put a cap on carbon that was sending a signal that would give us the opportunity to work with the rest of the world. I thought it was very urgent. And the President agreed with me. We were on the same page. I thought this was our opportunity. We could really get it done.

Voice over:

Six weeks after the inauguration, Whitman prepared to travel to a gathering of environmental ministers. 

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

Before I went to my first G8 Environmental Minister’s meeting in Italy, I went to the Whitehouse and basically said, look I am going to say we’re going to put a cap on carbon. Because that had been in the campaign literature and I ran that all the way up the flagpole at the Whitehouse to make sure it was OK. And it was fine. Go ahead [I was told].

Trieste, Italy.

Cut to:

[news conference]

Whitman. ‘The President has acknowledged the importance of global warming and has indicated it’s at the top of his agenda.’

Cut to:

[voice over]

While Whitman was in Italy, the fossil fuel industry was pressuring the Whitehouse. Asking them to reverse course. Hayley Barber, an influential Republican energy lobbyist, had written to Vice President Dick Cheney,   1st March 2001, who was shaping the administration’s energy policy. The letter questioned whether the carbon-cap idea was ‘eco-extremism’.

And in the media, Think-Tanks funded by Big Oil, attacked Whitman and climate science.

Cut to:

Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, presenter, ‘Global Warming: For Real?’ That doesn’t stop both sides swearing the heck they know what is going on.

: Cato Institute. Director of natural gas studies.

Jerry Taylor, Cato Institute, 1991-2014.

My objective while at Cato was to influence smart, engaged people. That the case against climate activism was far stronger than they realised.  I honestly, and in good faith, felt that the actions against climate action were far, far stronger. So that was my job. And I did it well.

For most people, if thinks are very uncertain, they’re not going to commit a lot of resources to address that uncertainty until it clears up. Debate is a performance art. I was pretty good at that. I was the good-communication gunslinger.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

The administration was extremely close to the industry and those Think-tanks. When I returned from Italy, I heard some rumours that we weren’t going to go forward with a cap on carbon. So I asked for a meeting with the President and went over and met with him.

And it was a done deal.

In fact, as I walked out of the office after the meeting, the Vice President was just going by. And he said, ‘Have you got a letter for me?’

I didn’t know what letter he was talking about. He asked the secretary and he was on his way to the Hill. And he was on his way to the Senate saying, we’re not doing a cap on carbon.

Too bad, the rest of the world.

Cut to:

[voice over] The President claimed he’d dropped the plan because it would drive up the already inflated energy costs.

The announcement left his EPA chief, who had vigorously promoted the curb, twisting in the wind.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

I was really blindsided. And I felt that backing out of that pledge and I was monumentally disappointed. Especially, in the way that we did. Essentially, flipping the bird to the rest of the world.

The industry is a great lobbyist.

Cut to:

[voice over] Vice President Dick Cheney had previously been at Haliburton, one of the oil company’s largest service corporations.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

You got that feeling there was a pretty open door. That they had in the West Wing, Vice President Cheney, who was certainly not a believer in climate change doing much about it. The Vice President was industry through and through. And he was very persuasive in his arguments as were other Republicans on the Hill about how this was going to kill the economy. We needed more energy. We could not start to put a cap on carbon. And so there was just no appetite: economically, politically, or otherwise to go forward with a cap on carbon.

Cut to:

News report, VP Cheney?

Some things about the future we cannot know. Years down the road alternative fuels may become a great deal more plentiful than they are today. But we are not yet in any position to stake our life or our economy on that possibility. For years down the road this will continue to be true.

Cut to:   

[voiceover] 5 months into his Presidency, George Bush had adopted the oil-industry line of emphasising the uncertainties of climate science.

Cut to:

Bush:

We do not know how fast change will occur. Or even how some of our actions could impact it.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

It really was a tragedy. If President Bush had gone forward with a carbon cap it would have made an enormous difference.

Cut to:

[Newspaper headline] Whitman resigns as EPA administrator.

Cut to:

Tampa Tribune 23rd May 2003 –headline- EPA chief leaves ‘Thankless job’.

[voice over] the head of the EPA announce her resignation today. Christine Whitman said she wanted to spend more time with her family.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator 2001-2003.

Once we’d gone through this debacle over the cap on carbon, there was no appetite for addressing climate change at all. That was it. We just didn’t talk about it. The industry was winning a lot of battles I was losing. Ultimately, that was what led me to leaving the administration. I wasn’t just going to be a rubber-stamp for industry.  I just had enough.

Cut to:

[news report]

To the weather now and it is awful

Cut to:

Soldiers are helping residents of Yorkshire to leave their homes.

Cut to:

Hurricane Opal. The ninth hurricane of this long season.

Cut to:

12 people killed by last weeks’ series of California storms.

Cut to:

History’s biggest merger created by America. This largest company created by Exxon and Mobil will be the biggest oil company in the world. 123 000 employees. $200 million in revenue. 47 000 gas stations world-wide. 

Cut to:

[voice over]

The Bush administration’s decision not to act on climate change was a victory for America’s oil companies. Especially, Exxon-Mobil. Its CEO Lee Raymond, was close to the Vice President.

Cut to:

[Dick Cheney]

Corporate citizenship award presented to Lee Raymond, 2003.

The Vice President’s address:

As chairman and chief executive of one of the world’s leading energy companies, Lee Raymond has helped improve the lives of countless people all over the world. And is head of a major science and knowledge corporation.  And Lee understands the importance of science and technology. The continued progress and economic growth both at home and abroad.  

Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center

I’ve been investigating the fossil-fuel industry for decades. Exxon was a ringleader and they were at the centre of the campaigns that were around in the 90s and early 2000 to stall climate policy. Exxon had emerged as the real school-bully on climate change, headed by Lee Raymond who was a hardened denier.

Cut to: ExxonMobil shareholder meeting 2000.

[sceenshot] Lee Raymond on a podium with a backdrop of a petition signed by 17 000 scientists (Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine).

‘There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the earth’s climate.’  

Question [from the floor]

I’d like to comment on the findings of the fact about the relationship between the burning of fossil fuels and climate deterioration. I understand that the corporation’s policy is at this time believes it is in the realm of the unproven. But I’d like to state from the broad scientific community this is a well-established fact.

A Lee Raymond:

There is no convincing scientific evidence that the human  realise of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and earth’s climate.

Neela Banerjee, Supervising Climate Editor, NPR. 

Lee Raymond kept hammering away at the idea of scientific uncertainty – even as the science grew more certain.

Cut to:

Lee Raymond,

There is a substantial difference of view in the scientific community as to what exactly is going on.  I can assert to you that I don’t think this is happening. My mind is open enough to say I’m going to listen to the science.

Cut to:

Bill Heins, Geoscientist ExxonMobil 2001-19.

I started working ExxonMobil 2001. It was one of the biggest corporations in the world. At the turn of the century they were making on the order of five billion dollars a year.  

Voiceover.

Geo-scientist Bill Hines had spent years studying climate change before joining ExxonMobile. This is the first time he has been interviewed about his experiences with the company.

I’m disappointed. I’m angry. I’m disenchanted at the duplicity exhibited by ExxonMobil saying one thing, internally, and to say a different thing, with a much different consequence, in the political arena.

Cut to: Voiceover.

He’d been hired to use his expertise in climate change to help discover new oil deposits.

My ambition when I joined Exxon was to keep doing my science. And I was blown away, doing all kind of really interesting science at technical levels even that was happening in top universities. And not only was it appreciated, but it was for a reason. People need energy to live and we were providing that energy.

Cut to: Voiceover.

By now scientists are ExxonMobil had developed a deep understanding of how climate change worked. And were using it to their advantage.

This was real, fundamental science. Really, tore apart how does the earth work? And  climate is a really important part of that system. So you got to understand the system to drill for oil and gas. But there is this flipside. There is this dark side of the equation. The fundamental idea that we put CO2 in the atmosphere and that makes the temperature go up and that’s bad. Everyone understands that completely clearly.

Cut to: Voiceover.

Heins soon began to notice a contradiction between what ExxonMobil scientists knew and what the company management wanted to stress.

Shortly after I joined ExxonMobil there was a presentation by Art(ur) Green who was chief scientist of ExxonMobil exploration.  All the scientific staff were there. Art got up and gave his presentation about how ice-core records were unreliable. There were temperature excursions in the past when there couldn’t be any human influence. Here’s all these reasons why we don’t really to worry about climate change.

He didn’t clearly state it, but the subtext appeared to be that his bosses didn’t seem to be concerned that climate change was something to be concerned about.

There was a kind of stunned silence in the room. And ExxonMobil is a very polite place. In that context the reaction was quite remarkable. Translated in modern parlance, (as if) my children were explaining: ‘Are you fucking nuts?’

‘No, we don’t believe you. We’re scientists. We don’t want to hear this.’

I took that [dissent] as a good sign.

So, I thought, my scientific colleagues don’t buy into this narrative. And, so, even if that’s  what high levels of management believe, there are enough adults in the room to keep in a technically rational and sound forward path.

Now, when I look back with hindsight, I think, oh crap! That was really bad.

Cut to:

Voiceover:

Most of the oil industry was following ExxonMobil’s lead. And casting doubt on climate science. But one major player had broken ranks.

Cut to:

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

BP, Britain’s biggest company, which prides itself on its green credentials.

Cut to:

 

I think the penny dropped with me when I took over as CEO, I realised we need to say that we are causing a problem and we need to solve that problem.

Cut to:

Stanford University 1997.

Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon,

Cut to, (news) Global Climate Change. [BP]

I believe we have come to an important of our consideration of the environment. It is up for the moment of change and rethinking corporate responsibility.

Cut to:

We had many discussions with the leading scientists. And it was very clear that there was a discernible impact on the climate as a result of human activity.

Cut to: news) Global Climate Change. 1997 [BP]

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising. And the temperature of the earth’s surface is increasing.

Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center

This is a remarkable moment, because suddenly we have this CEO stepping away from that circle of wagons or that camp, and saying, actually, we think we have to do something positive about this.

Cut to:

Headline. International Business: Yousief M Ibrahim (journalist) ‘Praise for Global Warming Initiative,’  [London 11th December 2007] ‘BP Nudges Reluctant Colleagues.’

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

The response by the oil and gas industry, I think the right word was ‘astonished’. Astonished  and very defensive.

Cut to:

Lee Raymond.

Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center

Lee Raymond was furious with this. And the friction between him and John Browne. Between Exxon and BP was tremendous behind the scenes.

Cut to: [Exxon conference with Lee Raymond]

Because he had broken creed. 

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

Lee Raymond did not approve of what I had said and made it very clear to me that this was the wrong way to go. And that he pointed out as far as he was concerned, their mandate was to abide by the law and produce the maximum amount of profits based on the laws that existed at the time.

Cut to:

BP Promotional video.

Beyond the darkness, there is light. Beyond the thorn, there is the rose. Beyond ten seconds, night. Beyond power, responsibility.   Winter. Summer. Beyond darkness. Light. Beyond Petroleum.

 

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

We built a renewable energy business. We set up a special unit for that and we had a tag-line—beyond petroleum. 

There was, of course, this big suspended judgement. Was this for real?

Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center

When the BP Beyond Petroleum launched there was a backlash about spending £200 million on the image-scrub [greenwashing] while spending less than a quarter of that on actual solar programmes.

Bill Heins, Geoscientist ExxonMobil 2001-19.

The BP green flower and the little logo, Beyond Petroleum derided and ridiculed in ExxonMobil.

When you talk about greenwashing that would be the operational definition. I thought it was smoke and mirrors. 

Hey, look at this sock puppet over here. We’re going to be green. And don’t pay attention to what we’re really doing.

Cut to:

[voiceover]

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

People thought it was greenwash, but I don’t think that was the intent behind it. BP was fundamentally an oil and gas company. And it was in the process of transitioning. And a very slow, and long transition. But it started it.

Cut to: News.

Cone shaped and hovering over Staffordshire, a tornado ripped through the sky leaving a trail of destruction.

Cut to:

Days of torrential rain have led to flooding and landslides in Southern Italy

Cut to:

The people had no warning of the deluge. It came in the dead of night at they slept.

Cut to:

Record temperatures in Italy, Kosovo, and France have also sparked blazes.

[Voiceover]

By the early 2000s, scientists were finding more evidence that climate change was increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  was one of the US senior climate scientists.

Cut to: Overview. National Synthesis Team. US Global Research Program.

Climate Change Impacts on the US. The Potential Consequence of Climate Variability and Change.

 

My career was in climate modelling. From 1997-2002, I was in charge of making the first climate assessment on the US. What would be the likely impact? And what we found was that there would be no question it was rising concentrations of CO2 doing that. So that puts more pressure on this issue of phasing out fossil fuels.

Cut to:

If you really want to do something significant to slow this so our grandchildren don’t face a changing world, we’re going to have to make a substantial movement away from the key fossil fuels of coal and oil, particularly.

Cut to:

Voiceover;

In January, 2001, MacCracen participated in a report for the intergovernmental-panel on climate change.

Cut to. Newpaper headline:

Scientists Predict Dire Prediction on Warning.

Cut to:

[voiceover] Beijing, 22 Jan, The report, approved unanimously, and described as the most comprehensive study to date. 

The IPCC predicted an increase in droughts, floods and violent storms across the planet (because air pollution is causing surface temperatures to rise faster than anticipated).    

‘unequivocally, for the first time, mankind is responsible for global warming.’

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

The statement that came out of the IPCC said, look, humans are the main cause. And that turned out to be very controversial.

Cut to:

Document. From Randy Randol, ExonnMobil: Regarding Bush Team for IPCC Negotiations. To John Howard [Council for Environmental Quality] 

‘I will call to discuss the recommendations regarding the team that can better represent the Bush Administration’.

 

Voice over:

ExxonMobil went on the offensive, demanding that MacCracken and several other scientists that worked on the IPCC report ‘be replaced now’.

Accusing them of scientific bias. 

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

The fax was sent by Randy Randol, the senior scientific advisor to ExxonMobil, page 6, 2001. It says US was represented by a Clinton-Gore carryovers with aggressive agendas. So, he offered his thoughts on what should be done.

Voiceover:

They also targeted the IPCC chairman, British scientist, Professor Robert Watson.

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

Their issue was – can Watson be replaced now, at the request of the US? I think they were trying to get him replaced, because then they could have better control. They wanted better control. They wanted IPCC to focus more on the uncertainties.

Cut to:

Document: Global Climate- Science Issues for 2001.

Bierbaum and MacCracken were both actively involved in the production of the US National Assessment that has been roundly criticized for its political and scientific bias. The National Assessment was driven by a political schedule to help the Gore campaign. Several controlled leaks were used to get maximum media attention since Congressional oversight forced a delay in the release of the report.

Issue: Have Bierbaum and McCracken been removed from their positions of influence?

Issue: What was the U.S. position on the WG1 Report? Did it reflect the comments received?

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

It just didn’t like the science that was coming out, so was basically calling for a complete replacement of those that were leading the scientific enterprise. [Rosina Bierbaum and Michael MacCracken]

Cut to:

Voiceover:

Within two years, the Americans that ExxonMobil had named, including MacCracken and the British IPCC chairman, Robert Watson, would retire or be replaced.

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

ExxonMobil tried to control the discussion in the US. [Appoint Dr Richard Linzen MIT] And then put off the problem and make our profits now and we’ll slowly change. But we won’t do anything urgent enough as the science was indicating. So my term was going to be ending.  And so I chose to write a letter. It was the end of September 2002.

Directed to Lee Raymond as Chief Executive of ExxonMobil, but copied to everybody else.

Dear Mr Raymond, while my departure may be satisfying to ExxonMobil, I can assure this will not make the scientific challenge of climate change or its impacts go away. That  150 countries unanimously agreed about the science of this issue is not because of some green conspiracy. But because of the solid scientific understanding underpinning this issue.

To call ExxonMobil’s position out of the mainstream is thus a gross understatement. There can be all kinds of perspectives about what one might, or might not do, to start to  limit the extent of the change, but to be in opposition to the key scientific findings is rather appalling for such and established and scientific organization.

You are on the wrong side of history and you need to find a way to change your position.

2005.  

  Cut to news programme: This is Charlie Rose.

Lee Raymond is here ExxonMobil chief executive, which is having a record year in 2005. His career has been a remarkable financial performance. He retires at the end of this year.

Raymond: It’s good to be here. Thank you.

Q. The environmental community thinks you are –pause- part of the problem. They say the following. Global warming is produced by CO2 emission in the air.

A: Do I disagree with the premise the earth is getting warmer?

Q Yes sir?

A No, I really don’t disagree with that. Climate has changed every year, for millions of years. If we weren’t here. The climate would change. There has been times in the earth’s history when there has been no ice on the earth. No ice on the earth! Man didn’t have anything to do with it.

Cut to:

Newspaper carousel.

Voiceover: ExonnMobil continued to promote the doubt and uncertainty about climate science. {Changes in one feature can affect the other} using adverts designed to look like journalistic content in major American newspapers.

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

When I looked at those adverts at the time, I didn’t take them as being that important. Sitting inside the organisation and doing good science I doubted it was good science. I averted my gaze.

Cut to: [preview of an article]

So this one about uncertain science is highlighting uncertainties or vulnerabilities that are TRUE, but not important to the issue. It’s not something that deflects us from the basic idea that more CO2 changes the climate in a bad way.

They were sowing doubt. It was not just public posturing. It was truly casting aspersions on science.

Cut to:

Voiceover: ExxomMobil declined grant current interviews with current executives. In a statement the company told us there is no truth in the suggestion that it ever misled the public or policy makers about climate change. And it said its public statements about climate change have always been consistent with the contemporary understanding of mainstream science.

Cut to:

Michael MacCracen, US Global Change Research Program, 1993-2002  

So it would be correct in saying that Lee Raymond was consistent with science in saying that we don’t quite know what the answer is. But he was out of sync with the science of the time which said if you keep going in this direction then it’s going to be bad. That conclusion has no changed in 30 or 40 years. As a matter of commercial self-interest, the company was casting aspersions, casting doubt. Trying to make it so real, meaningful changed didn’t happen.

Cut to:

Image, river flood.

Voiceover: Scientists are telling us these kinds of events are becoming more frequent. And probably more intense.  As a result of human-induced global warming.

Cut to:

Image: Fire.

Voiceover: extreme drought conditions are providing fuel for wild fires.

There are many predictions that Hurricane Katrina will turn out to be the most expensive natural disaster and certainly not the first.

Cut to:

Image: Trees bending in wind.

Voiceover: Hurricane activity that’s been so much in correlation with the rise in tropical ocean temperatures, which globally is attributable to global warming.

But the signal is pretty unmistakable.

Cut to:

Voiceover: As the science and the warnings became clearer and more urgent, some of the fossil fuels’ most reliable allies started having doubts.

Cut to:

[younger] Jerry Taylor. Cato Institute, 1991-2014.

I look back at the work I did then with a lot of regrets. The years we were told there would be massive die-offs from mass population. That never happened. People would starve. And that never happened.

Cut to:

Fox News [voiceover]

 Now we’ve got a global warming issue. Allegedly.

Cut to:

It became increasingly clear to me. [present] As I debated smart people using state-of-the art information that was being generated in real time in the academic literature, that my job became increasingly difficult. The arguments weren’t adding up. That began my move away from climate scepticism. Because as the 2000s play out, the arguments for action on the scientific front become stronger and stronger and stronger. If I had known at the time, what ExonnMobil had known internally, as we are becoming increasingly aware. No, I would have definitely have been in a different place. If there was an intervention I could make through a time machine, I’d tackle it. Go to my other self, and drag him offstage and get him to do something else for a living.

Cut to:

[image] Big Ben, London.

[voiceover] the PM’s warning that oil firms should pass on price cuts came as BP announced its biggest quarterly profits.

[voiceover]

The BP boss has presided over a bumper time for his company. He has kept profits pumping into their billions.

[voiceover] BP was no making record profits from oil and gas. But its solar division was struggling.  

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

The technologies were not as good as they are today. So they were continually loss-making. And vastly expensive. The price was coming down. But we could never get it down far enough to make it a commercial proposition. I left the company, shortly, thereafter.

The climate vision and BP, I think took a timeout. Basically, after I left, for quite a big period. While the price of oil went through the roof. And people focussed on oil and gas. Hugh profitability created a high degree of arrogance. Because you were generating so much money, you could forget everything else.

Cut to:

Front page of Time, reads: Special Report, Global Warming. Be worried. Be very worried. [Competitive Enterprise Institute video] ie Big Oil.

[commentary] you’ve seen those headlines about global warming, [Front page, The Washington Post, 3rd March 2006, Antarctic Ice Sheet is Melting Rapidly.] The glaciers are melting. We’re doomed. That’s what several studies supposedly found. 

But other scientific studies found exactly the opposite.

Cut to:

[voiceover]

ExxonMobil was still funding think-tanks. Accused of spreading misinformation about climate change.

[example. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thicker, not thinner. And as for carbon dioxide,  they call it pollution. We call it life { image of a pretty woman blowing bubbles} Competitive Enterprise Institute. [www. celarg]

Cut to: Kert Davies, Climate Investigations Center

From 1988 onwards,  Exxon alone put over $30 million into think-tanks that were offering uncertainty. Questioning the climate science. Questioning policies that were being proposed. Really, casting doubt on anything that had to do with climate change at the state level. At the national level. And internationally.

Cut to:

2006

Voiceover, the company’s new CEO, Rex Tillison [ExonnMobil] now acknowledged climate change was a risk. But defended questioning the science.

[ExxonMobil Conference, Rex Tillison presiding.]

Q from floor: Is Exxon still funding organisations and individuals that consistently put forward a view that global warming is not caused by human activity?

A I don’t really read that. They’re examining science. Coal and science. Gas and science. Things that don’t have a good scientific basis.

 

Cut to:

NEELA BANERJEE, Supervising Climate Editor, NPR.

Under Rex Tillerson, Exon finally admitted that man-made climate change was occurring. But there was a contradiction in its business practices. In things Rex Tillerson, as leader of Exxon said, off the cuff about climate change. And it’s continued funding of organisations that denied the reality of climate change.

Cut to:

Rex Tillerson: having a good debate is what’s sorely needed. And this rush to say we’ve got everything figured out.  I hate to say it, but that ain’t so.

Cut to:

[image: Washington lightning storm]

Voicever: But the scientific warnings were becoming even more urgent.

Cut to:

Floods

Newsreader. Top scientists are convinced changes may spiral out of control because of what we are pumping into the air every day.

Cut to:

Newsreader. Put the world on the verge of catastrophe.

Cut to:

[Voiceover] Public support for climate change was at an all-time high. And an Oscar-winning film was sounding the alarm to a wider audience across the world.

Cut to:

Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth {Paramount}

I am Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the US.  [stills from film] This is Patagonia 75 years ago. And the same place today.

Al Gore [older/contempary] US Vice-President 1993-2001.

We had reality on our side. And tragically, the felt consequences of the climate crisis were growing in intensity and frequency, in severity. It was time to re-group again.  And double-down.

2008

Cut to: Barrack Obama- President.

[speech]  I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children, that this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

Cut to:

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

This was a big moment when President Obama was elected. Came in with a mandate. He campaigned on this. He got people excited about this.  There was no sneaking this issue past anybody. This was on everybody’s radar. Everyone knew what was coming. We thought we were part of making history.

Cut to:

Voiceover: Inside ExxonMobil top executives were plotting how to respond. They contacted Bennet Freeman. A specialist in human rights and corporate responsibility.

Cut to:

Bennet Freeman, Vice President Sustainability Research and Policy Calvert Investments, 2006-15. 

I had an informal conversation in the back of a limousine with Ken Koen at ExxonMobil who was essentially their policy and public-affairs officer. I thought Exxon was shamefully out of the action, because it became so apparent that climate science was real. So my advice to Ken was for the company to finally take a positon on public policy. To make an unequivocal statement accepting the reality of climate science. To make and unequivocal commitment to not fund any more climate denial research which Exxon was infamous for supporting. For funding directly. And to take a positive, proactive positon supporting action at the US federal level.

Amazingly, that speech happened.

Cut to:

Speech, Rex Tillerson: Globally, the outlook for energy expects energy related carbon dioxide emissions to rise on average by one percent per year through the year till 2030.

These two fundamental realities mean an enormous demand in growth and managing the risk of greenhouse gases are the twin challenges of our time.  

Bennet Freeman, Vice President Sustainability Research and Policy Calvert Investments, 2006-15. 

This company was essentially like the caveman, from the Neanderthal era, who finally came out, blinking into the sunshine of the twenty-first century. Yet, I think, it was the first time, that at least the CEO level, they started, just started to take a policy positon that was potentially constructive.

[cf they’d taken a destructive positon]

It was important to acknowledge this was an initial step. It is equally important, more important in my position, to emphasise it was little and late.

2009 

Cut to: Washington.

President Obama speech.

I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution. And drives the production of more renewable energy in America. [applause]

That’s what we need.

Cut to:

Voiceover: The President began pushing a climate bill which would radically reduce carbon emissions Known as the Cap-And-Trade Bill.

Jonathan Phillips was part of the team that drafted it.

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

I was passionate about it, because you can’t really get any closer to the fire, right? This is where laws would be made to deal with what I believed was an existential crisis for humanity. The ultimate goal of the bill was to reduce carbon emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. And that’s a lot of fossil industry. A lot of oil and gas producers, the coal miners, the coal companies, refineries. It was going to hit someone’s pocketbook.

Cut to:

Voiceover: ExxonMobil opposed the Bill. In spite of its new position on climate change. But other players in the industry would lead the counterattack    

Al Gore [older/contempary] US Vice-President 1993-2001.

The strength of the forces arrayed against us was quite large. I raised the $300 million to run prime-time advertisements to support President Obama’s climate initiative. I knew by then the large polluters would stop at nothing to try and prevent it.

Cut to:

Voiceover: [ad for Big Oil] Koch Industries has been called the biggest company you’ve never heard of. The sprawling giant includes pipelines, petrochemicals, asphalt plants, trading floors based in Wichita, Kansas it sells everything from gasoline to beef.

Cut to:

Christopher Leonard, author of Kochland.

In 2009 Koch Industry is the second largest privately held company in the US, whose annual sales are bigger than Goldman Sachs, US Steel and Facebook combined.

Cut to:

Voiceover:

Koch’s core business is distribution. It owns 37 000 miles of pipeline.

Cut to: Christopher Leonard, author of Kochland.

Koch is just deeply embedded in the fossil fuel industry. It trades, ships and transports natural gas, oil, gasoline.  So when you think about anything that would reduce demand or increase the price for fossil fuels, it’s a tremendous threat to Koch’s business.

Cut to:

Voiceover: Koch Industry was owned by two brothers.

David Koch who died in 2019.

Charles Koch. 

Cut to: Christopher Leonard, author of Kochland.

People who had been inside this organisation for decades described David Koch as essentially a silent partner. Charles was the master strategist. This is a person who understands science. Who lives by science. Who lives by data. And yet he’s been one of the largest proponents of casting doubt on the science behind climate change.

This is a moment when the potential for passing climate-change regulation was more real than it’s ever been in history. Full stop. That’s why you saw the Koch political machine kick into high gear.

David Hoffman, Senior Counsel (Environmental lawyer at) Koch Industries, 2005-2010. 

Voice over. This is the first time he has spoken on camera about his work there.

Cut to:  Film of Charles Koch

Viewing of recording. Voice: Do you believe in anthropomorphic climate change?

Koch: Greenhouse gases are contributing to that. But I don’t think anybody knows how much. I don’t think science is settled. How could it be? In fact, science is never settled.

David Hoffman, Senior Counsel (Environmental lawyer at) Koch Industries, 2005-2010. 

My father, basically said to me, don’t work for the devil. This is a company that doesn’t care about the impact they’re having on the world. It encouraged me even more to work for Koch Industries, for I felt like, maybe I can convince people within Koch Industries that environmental compliance isn’t such a bad thing.

Voiceover:

Hoffman was given the job of assessing what the climate bill would mean for Koch Industries. He met with a team of senior Koch lobbyists.  

David Hoffman, Senior Counsel (Environmental lawyer at) Koch Industries, 2005-2010. 

I was invited to this meeting. The discussion quickly turned from the possibility this Bill might pass, and what we should be doing to prepare for it, to a discussion about how we were going to prevent it from passing. Who are vulnerable Republicans that we need to target? To make sure they don’t vote for this Bill. We cannot let this Bill pass. We won’t let this Bill pass. And we’ll do everything in our power to prevent it from passing.

Cut to:

Shot: Defending the American Dream: Americans for Prosperity.

Voiceover. The Koch brothers poured money into efforts to kill the Bill. The right-wing- advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity spearheaded the effort.

Shot. David Koch’s speech:

Five years ago, my brother Charles and I, provided the funds to start Americans for Prosperity (AFP). And it’s beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown to this enormous organisation, 800 000 activists from nothing five years ago.

Voiceover:

Backed with Koch money, AFP had begun rallying opposition on the ground across the country.

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

Cut to: party speech

This county is heading in the wrong direction. But like the country of old we stand and are going to rise to the occasion. Know that. We’re not going to let this Cap and Trade Bill pass.

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

Cut to: (contemporary)

I see an underlying American sentiment behind much of this climate change discussion. Today’s axis of evil the Chinese Communist Party,  American Wonk Activism,  and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those three elements together are designed to drive down American’s productivity. That’ s what’s at stake.

Cut to images (billboard: Obama with a Hitler moustache, Don’t Tax me Bro, End the Fed, Socialism: Trickle Up Poverty)

Voice over: Lonegan: We as a nation have come to the realisation that the very core values and principles are under attack like never before in our lifetime.

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

It became very obvious that the Republican Party was not willing to fight the fight. And Charles Koch, who is on my view, a hero and visionary, saw this problem. So we had a multifaceted hard-hitting approach. Pressurising Republicans who were needy and Democrats who were vulnerable, because they would be impacted from this. If you’re going to go into war, like this was. The first thing you’ve got to do is get your troops marching. Get them energised. And that’s what we did. That summer.

Cut to:

Images: People marching.

Voiceover: It was a time when many Republican Party members were joining the Tea-Party movement, which advocated lower taxes and smaller government.

This was a volatile term in American life. We just had the biggest economic collapse since the Depression.  The Tea-Party movement was activated by a lot of genuine political passion.

David Hoffman, Senior Counsel (Environmental lawyer at) Koch Industries, 2005-2010. 

Koch very cunningly stepped in and channelled that to Koch’s end. Koch took that passion and told these people, oh, hey, by the way, the government is trying to regulate greenhouse gases, which is another form of socialist tyranny.  And they’re trying to take your country away from you.

Images: Voice over of crowd. Nobamacare, No Cap-n-tax. Kill the Bill.

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

All of a sudden people started to get really energised about climate change and not in a positive way. There are people screaming and they’re animated about Cap and Trade! And it’s like, what  just happened? How did this happen?

Cut to Image of billboard: Cap & Trade: Our Constitution is being Raped. Time to take a Stand.

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

From the summer of 2009, through the winter into the spring, we gradually saw the US Senate back away from Climate. 

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

We stopped them from even going for a vote in the US Senate. So it died. Its own death. And at that point everybody knew it was over. Back to the drawing board for the progressive left.

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

I think we all knew this was the end of Climate Legislation in the US Congress for a long time. We had a shot at it, and we got beat.

David Hoffman, Senior Counsel (Environmental lawyer at) Koch Industries, 2005-2010. 

This was our one moment of opportunity when we could have done something dramatic. Not just for  the US, but for the world. To me it was a huge lost opportunity.

Voiceover:

Narrator: No one from Koch Industry would agree to an interview.

To me this was sort of the worst part of the underbelly of our democracy. It’s basically influence pedalling. I became terribly disheartened by what Koch stood for, and what I could do. I felt very isolated and I couldn’t in good conscience stay.

2010

 Image: US flag waving. Pickets chanting.

Voiceover: But the Kochs didn’t stop there. They now set out removing any Republican politicians who previously supported climate action by packing rival Republican candidates.

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

The Republican Party needed to be shored up. It needed to be given a backbone. Some incumbent can be sitting there all fat and happy. Thinking they’re sitting there ensconced and can’t be beaten. We were letting them know, we’re going to knock them out in the Primary.

Voiceover:

Washington commentator.  It’s all a hoax. 

Cut to: Christopher Leonard, author of Kochland.

This is where you saw the perfection of the Primary strategy. Thereby Koch would give money to the Primary candidate to take out a candidate that had crossed Koch on climate change.

Voiceover: Bob Inglis was a Republican Congressman who the Koch’s had previously supported. Now they withdrew their funding. And backed another candidate.

[Double Jeopardy]

Bob Inglis, Former US Congressman.

 I can say orthodoxy at the time was to say climate change is real. Let’s do something about it. They didn’t want their money being spent on people talking what I was talking.

On a very memorable occasion, a big tent meeting. All my Primary opponents were there. The guy asking the questions would say: Local. Christian Radio. Talk Host. And his question for me was is climate change human caused and do you support a carbon tax? 

And so I said, yes, and yes.

Cut to: Bob Inglis, speaking at this meeting in 2010.

I do believe that humans contribute to climate change. And, actually, let me strike that. I don’t believe that is an article of faith for me. All my faith tells me is to look at the data.  The data says that’s happening.

Cut to: Bob Inglis, Former US Congressman.

And then it goes the guy we’re concerned about. Because he’s a very capable fellow.

Cut to: Trey Gowdy, Primary candidate speaking at meeting in 2010.

No carbon tax, I’ve been a prosecutor for sixteen years. It’s not been proven to me or other people global warming has been proved to the satisfaction of the decisions I’ve seen… [Applause]

Cut to: Bob Inglis, Former US Congressman.

I think that was a particularly good answer. But it won’t win you a profile in courage. But good answer. But good answer, politically.

Cut to: Visual image. US House of Representatives, South Carolina, District 4:

Trey Gowdy 71% [of vote] Bob Inglis 29%.

Commentator: a huge margin of victory. Inglis lost every County in the District. He’s a seasoned Congressman going down to a huge defeat tonight.

Cut to: Bob Inglis, Former US Congressman.

You know it’s quite a spectacular face bind, getting 29% of the vote after 12 years in Congress. And it became a lesson to others. You toe the line. They wanted to make sure that other Republicans knew, you deviate from this and we’ll get you. And so, my scalp and others were hung on the wall. To show this is what’s going to happen to you. Object lesson.

Cut to: Image and speaker with gavel in House of Representative, cheering Congressmen.

Voiceover: Later that year, the Republicans won a historic majority in the mid-term elections. Many of the candidates had signed an Americans For Prosperity Pledge (NoClimateTax.comPledge) opposing climate change legislation.

Steve Lonegan a senior staffer at AFP helped to mobilise the movement.  2006-2013.

The achievement of 2010, the newly elected Republican, the vast majority signed our carbon pledge.  To put an end to that whole climate change argument until now. It’s been a dead issue.

Cut to: Interview with David Koch.

Q: Are you proud what Americans for Prosperity has achieved here?

A: You bet I am. Man, oh man. We’re going to do more too, in the next couple of years.

Cut to: Flags flying.

Cut to: Christopher Leonard, author of Kochland.

Koch Industries was able to reshape the Republican Party into one that identified with the idea that climate change was not real. That the science is a hoax. And that is a positon of zero compromise. And total opposition, not only to any laws, but even to an acknowledgement that the problem was real.

Jonathan Phillips, Democrat Congressional Staff, 2007-14.

I don’t think that in anyone’s wildest imagination on the industry side that the hoax argument would get to become the mainstream argument of the Party. It did. That’s half of our political system. So you can’t really get anything done if one Party is not even a part of the debate.

 

We’re politically gridlocked. And what happens in the US is what happens globally, this climate crisis is burning up the planet.

Cut to: Image. Blackened sky and burning fire.

11 Years Later.

Cut to, Images, floods. US Police rescuing citizens. Voiceover: A UN Report said climate change is accelerating and we’re running out of time to stop it.

Images: PBS News. Burning trees.  Voicever: Punishing and extreme weather, once more putting lives at risk.

Climate change is now widespread and rapid. And intensified by human activity which has warmed the climate.

Voiceover. Narrator. Ladies and Gentleman what do you say about climate in the next ten years.

Cut to image of Jerry Taylor (Cato Institute) speaking on Fox News c2010,

What we have seen is…

Cut to,  older, Jerry Taylor. Cato Institute, 1991-2014.

I absolutely feel used by my old allies. There were people in the fossil fuel industry, and actors in these oil companies, who knew full well that the narratives coming out of the mainstream scientific community and IPCC were exactly correct.

Cut to:  image, younger Jerry Taylor speaking…

Cut to older, Jerry Taylor. Cato Institute, 1991-2014.

All I have in my defence is I made the arguments in good faith at the time. In my opinion, the fossil-fuel industry has been engaged in a multi-decade act of fraud. And had they been more forthcoming and honest about it, what they’d been doing at the beginning of this debate, it would have gone on a very different trajectory.

Cut to, Images London.

John Browne, CEO BP 1995-2007.

I’ve been involved in the oil and gas industry since the sixties, I think I’ve been in an industry that helped the world but it can’t do what it’s been doing in the past. It has to change.

Looking backwards, over 25 years, we have really lost a quarter century of what we should have really been doing.

Cut to: Images of snowy landscape. Jerry Taylor, jogging through it.

 older, Jerry Taylor. Cato Institute, 1991-2014

The world as an ecosystem, as an entity, is in big trouble, to think about the fact we are making it worse is a hard thing to wrap your head around. If I could have seen earlier, that the hydrocarbon industry was responsible for distracting attention from climate change, I would have taken a different path. I bear responsibility for creating bad outcomes. I consider, often, what kind of world are my grandchildren live in?  Fifty years from now, they’ll rightly look back and say: what were you thinking?   

DELAY.

Image: Drilling derrick working in the desert.

Voiceover: What do you do when the product you make threatens the entire planet?

ExonMobbil provides an essential component of modern society. Affordable. Reliable. And abundant energy.

More than 40 years ago, oil industry scientists warned that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change.

They were making eerily accurate predictions about high the C02 concentration in the atmosphere would be. 

[further notes to follow]