Who am I? How did I get here? And why are we still burning the planet?

So you have a lot of questions. It's not the end of the world. Probably.

Welcome to EXXONKNEWS, a newsletter for those who want to see Big Oil's billionaires taken to task for decades of deception on the climate crisis.

If you haven’t already, sign up for a once-a-week email below.

Now let’s get to it.

Is this the beginning of the end?

Turning on the news in 2019 could prompt anyone to fully lose their gourd, but climate chaos really feels like the nail in the coffin of our collective sanity. That is, if it’s not the nail in our collective coffin (eek).

Maybe you’re living in California, where this month wildfires threatened to consume your home, and power outages— to prevent those same fires from getting worse— forced your business or your kid’s school to close for days on end.

Or you live in North Dakota, and the Keystone Pipeline is already up and running just two weeks after leaking over 383,000 gallons of oil (are we just… done talking about that?).

Maybe you’re still putting your life back together after Irma, Florence, Harvey, Maria, or Michael.

Or perhaps you’re just another schlub having an existential crisis because the world is ending and you’ve been told you’re both the cause and the solution.  

Many of us think our own failure to adapt means that we are doomed, and that as an entire species, we might just deserve it.

Many of us have been thinking about this the wrong way for a very long time. And there’s a reason for that.

It’s the beginning of the end of an era.

Here’s the thing: We live in a world that has been bought and built by Big Oil. Our choices are pretty limited. Our democratic systems, our economies, our transportation, our ability to survive a New York winter— all of it revolves around access to energy. And right now, most of that energy is carbon-based.

Our way of living and the coal, oil, and gas that powers it was engineered over the course of decades by the very industry that manufactures and sells these products. And it’s because of these same companies that we believe climate breakdown is the natural and only outcome of modern life.

Put another way: for far too long, we’ve overlooked the fact that a choice was made— but not by us.

Let’s back up to 1965. At the annual meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil and gas industry’s largest trade association, API’s president noted that “carbon dioxide is being added to the earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas at such a rate that by the year 2000 the heat balance will be so modified as possibly to cause marked changes in climate beyond local or even national efforts.”

Hundreds of internal industry documents make clear: over the course of five decades, these companies studied climate change and the monumental damages their products would cause. Big Oil was so sure of this science that they adapted their own infrastructure to protect profits.

Yet instead of making their research public or taking any action to curb the risk, the industry orchestrated a multi-million-dollar campaign to downplay the threat; deceive the public, media and lawmakers; and obstruct climate policy at its most crucial moment.

Exxon alone spent upwards of $30 million on ads, front groups, and fake science to create doubt about the connection between burning fossil fuels and rising global temperatures. But that wasn’t the end of it.

While touting their commitment to “climate solutions,” Big Oil still pours big bucks into new fossil fuel developments that would skyrocket emissions far beyond 1.5 or even 2 degrees of warming, funds disinformation on climate science, and sends lobbyists to unravel any legislation that would address the problem. The proposals they do support contain clauses that would trade away existing regulations and shield them from lawsuits in exchange for a laughably low tax on carbon.

If these are our climate saviors, I hope they’ll be kind enough to buy me a raft.

We won’t get fooled again

If it seems like you’ve heard this story before, that’s because you have.

Just like tobacco and opioid companies manipulated the public, the fossil fuel industry continues to warp the narrative on climate change so that we feel responsible—a convenient distraction from efforts to implement real climate policy or shift our economy away from oil and gas. Between adapting and rebuilding our communities in the aftermath of climate-driven disasters, we are paying the price for the industry’s lies and corruption.

And on the precipice of our planet’s destruction, they almost got away with it.

What we’ll do about it

The fight is far from over, and the first step is reclaiming control over what happens next.

We are in this struggle not just for our communities and our planet, but for the very core of our democracy. This newsletter will lift up the curtain on Big Oil and their shady operations— past, present, and ongoing.

Some of the things we’ll cover:

  • How Big Oil continues to use its $$$ to influence the conversation on climate behind the scenes

  • How communities, elected officials, and even presidential candidates are gearing up to do something about it

  • Ways you can get involved

Let’s get ourselves on track to a better world. Welcome to EXXONKNEWS.