Hear Anna Kalinsky’s questions for Exxon CEO – and his answers.

Kalinsky is the daughter of an Exxon scientist James Black,  who warned management in 1977 that humankind had “5 or 10 years to begin making hard decisions about climate change”.

In listening I’m finding this extremely heartbreaking and excrutiatingly sad.

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Thanks to all who have helped out thus far in the fundraiser.

I have not had a detailed update in a few days on donations, will share as soon
as I do – but things are looking good.  You’ll be getting real results for your donation, so if you’re still on the fence about it, no reason to hold back.  Mainstream media is not going to help us on this – so we’ll all just have to jump in and do it. Thanks for all your support and good will during this time of rather annoying necessities.

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(remember, click above to go to the Dark Snow support page in order to get tax advantages)

Now as promised, I want to share some details of the next phase after
observations in Greenland this summer.
goodellheadI will be looking at the other half of the ice sheet equation – the impacts of Sea Level rise, in collaboration with one of the most prolific, well informed, and important writers on climate issues, Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone.  Above, see Jeff interviewed following the Paris Climate agreement of last year, where he recounts back room intrigues that almost scuttled the agreement.

I first met Jeff in Greenland during the first Dark Snow Field season, when Jeff flew with Jason Box and myself along the calving wall of Illulissat Glacier.

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What climate deniers call “Free Speech”, the rest of us call lying.

Desmogblog:

Anna Kalinsky, the granddaughter of former Exxon climate scientist James Black, has berated the company for bankrolling climate change denial despite her grandfather’s attempts to inform the company of the risks of burning fossil fuels for the global climate.
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In 1977 my grandfather was a senior scientist at Exxon. He warned Exxon executives that the world was just a few years away from needing to rethink our energy strategy to prevent destructive climate change,” Kalinsky says.

black_exxon“Instead, Exxon chose to mislead people about the risks of climate change – and continues to mislead people today. The company says they value their scientists and all the work they do, but that’s pretty hard to believe when they continue to fund organizations – both publicly and anonymously – that spread misinformation about the science.”

Kalinsky’s comments came during a call with media prior to ExxonMobil’s May 25 Annual General Meeting in Dallas, Texas, where shareholders will vote on a number of resolutions pertaining to climate change.

Kalinsky is slated to address ExxonMobil’s executives and speak about her grandfather’s scientific findings which were featured in a September investigative article by InsideClimate News.

As Kalinsky alluded to, Exxon spent $31 million dollars funding the climate change denial machine between 1998 and 2014 — by conservative estimates.

Among other climate-denying activity, Exxon still funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a “corporate bill mill” that has long denied the reality of human-caused climate change. ALEC has been singled out by ClimateTruth.org, which is calling on Exxon to drop its dues-paying membership with the organization.

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Bloomberg:

The number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered.

Employment in the U.S. solar business grew 12 times faster than overall job creation, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in a report on Wednesday. About 8.1 million people worldwide had jobs in the clean energy in 2015, up from 7.7 million in 2014, according to the industry group based in Abu Dhabi.

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Electrek:

Solar Power now has more employees than either the Oil & Gas or Coal Extraction industries in the United States. The solar industry employed approximately 208,000 individuals at the end of 2015 versus 185,000+ in oil and gas, or 190,000 in coal extraction. Solar power employment is expected to grow an additional 15% in 2016 to almost 240,000 individuals. Globally, solar power now directly employs 2.8 million people as the largest renewable energy employer.

The report was put together by Bloomberg, who highlighted a big data release regarding global renewable energy jobs by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and complimented that with oil/gas/coal data by the US Bureau of Statistics. This information is very specific to the extraction portion of the process in oil/gas/coal – as total supporting jobs in other industries are very significant and sometimes hard to define (gas station counter worker?).

Guardian:

A boom in solar and wind power jobs in the US led the way to a global increase in renewable energy employment to more than 8 million people in 2015, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

More than 769,000 people were employed in renewable energy in the US in 2015, dwarfing the 187,000 employed in the oil and gas sector and the 68,000 in coal mining. The gap is set to grow further, with jobs in solar and wind growing by more than 20% in 2015, while oil and gas jobs fell by 18% as the fossil fuel industry struggled with low prices.

Across the world, employment in renewable energy grew by 5% in 2015, boosted by supportive government policies and subsidies including tax credits in the US, although jobs in renewables fell in Europe. The growth was despite renewable energy subsidies being far outweighed by subsidies for fossil fuels, where jobs were lost.

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Chevron Exec says his company might profit from all this hoohah about climate change, and fossil fuels aren’t going away.
Actually, he’s right about one thing, some people are going to make big money on the current transition.

Wall Street Journal via Marketwatch:

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Chevron Corp. Chief Executive John Watson has a blunt message for investors, climate activists and anyone else listening: Fossil fuels aren’t going away.
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But this stance increasingly sets him apart from his oil counterparts as they react to pressure from climate-change activists and concerned shareholders.

On Wednesday, Chevron CHV, +0.82% , like Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, +0.08% , is facing a shareholder-proposal campaign by activists who want the company to detail the risk climate change poses to its business. Exxon is opposed to the proposal, and so is Watson: He questions its entire premise, arguing that climate change might even prove positive for Chevron, if it spurs more of the planet to shift from coal to natural gas.

“I hope to gain market share in some areas,” he said.

Where many other oil and gas executives are retreating at least in rhetoric, emphasizing common ground with environmentalists, Watson, who became CEO in 2010 after climbing the company’s ranks for three decades, has doubled down.

Watson, 59, isn’t a climate-change skeptic. But the staunch disciple of free markets believes that only a major technological breakthrough, rather than a top-down solution from government, will substantially curb climate change.

Sydney Morning Herald:

Within just 15 years conventional energy production and transport will have been rendered obsolete by the revolution taking place in batteries, solar power and electric cars.

The startling thesis by energy disruption guru and Stanford University lecturer Tony Seba has been around for a couple of years but after originally being dismissed as crazy, is now catching serious attention from investors.

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My video on the most underreported-but-about-to-explode stories of the millennium is above. Below, latest developments.

Reuters:

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) will face their toughest-ever push by shareholders concerned about a warming world at annual meetings on Wednesday, as the Paris accord to tackle climate change ratchets up investor pressure on two of the world’s largest oil companies.

The tension is most acute at Exxon, which has denied accusations from environmentalists that it purposely misled the public about climate change risks. The New York attorney general is investigating Exxon and it has complained of being unfairly targeted by special interest groups.

The raft of proposals up for vote at the two companies more than doubled to 11 this year, the latest sign that environmental concerns once considered peripheral by many investors have become mainstream. Even the most traditional shareholder groups are now urging companies to detail how they will plan for the future after 195 governments agreed in December to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) through combined national pledges to cut carbon emissions from fossil fuels.


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BBC:

For around a quarter of a century, a varied collection of climate activists and institutions concerned about rising temperatures have attempted to get Exxon Mobil to move forward on the issue of climate change.

This year, they believe the coalition attempting to force change on the issue, is the strongest ever assembled. Investors with at least $8tn under management have indicated they will support greater recognition of the climate change issue.

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Adding yet another clip from my lengthy interview with James Hansen at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Here, Dr. Hansen speaks in simple, politically astute terms about how best to put a price on carbon.
supportdarksnowWe are already paying a carbon tax, with the lungs, brains, and organs of our citizens, and it is costing us billions. It’s time we face up to consciously pricing fossil fuels so that we can make market based, rational decisions on our energy policy.

This vid is the newest addition to my playlist of Scientists Interviews on Climate Change, the playlist Slate’s Bad Astronomer Phil Plait recently called a “great resource”:

These really are terrific. If you get confronted by some head-in-the-sand science denier who swears satellite measurements are better than in situ thermometers on the ground, who thinks the Earth hasn’t warmed since 1998, who thinks the Wall Street Journal is a legit source of climate change information, then check these videos out. They’ll help.

The list now contains 143 informative, brief, and understandable interviews, mostly by myself, of leading scientists on climate’s most important questions.

This is my life’s work now – and includes hundreds more videos of various lengths on various topics, from scientists famous and obscure, on topics familiar and arcane.  I believe that hundreds of years from now, historians wanting to know how human beings made, or failed to make, the most significant human decision in planetary history, they’ll want to review these recordings of this century’s most well informed observers.

One way or another, I’m going to continue to make it happen, but with help from readers and viewers, I can stretch farther, do more, and bring better resources to a larger audience.

Below, Hansen in the same interview, discussing his most recent research on ice melt and sea level rise.

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Similar to Shell and Exxon, as the LA Times reported, and I posted here in February.

None dare call it conspiracy. Till now.

Oil giant Exxon planned their facilities with climate change and sea level rise in mind, even as they were funding efforts to cast doubt on the science of climate change.
Congress-people asking if Shell Oil did the same thing.

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Los Angeles Times:

A Southern California congressman and two other representatives are calling for an investigation of Shell Oil over whether it deceived the public on climate change at the same time it was preparing its business operations for rising sea levels.

In a Feb. 17 letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, the three members of Congress said growing evidence suggests there may have been “a conspiracy between Shell, Exxon Mobil and potentially other companies in the fossil fuel industry.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) sent the letter along with Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, both Democrats.

Their letter cites an investigation published by the Los Angeles Times that reported that in 1989 Shell Oil announced it was redesigning a long-term, $3-billion natural gas platform in the North Sea to deal with rising sea levels from global warming. Despite this and other incidents, the congressmen noted, “Shell apparently decided to fund climate deniers.”

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris  (as well as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman) is investigating whether Exxon Mobil repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change — and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws. New York’s attorney general also is investigating the oil company as a result of the published reports.

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A great example of the reporting you will see at this site and – no where else, are the half dozen or so videos I’ve made responding point-by-point to the climate denial jihad against scientist Michael Mann, author of the now-many-times-replicated Hockey Stick graph of global temperatures.

Mike’s one of the dozens of leading experts who have been my coaches and mentors in areas of climate communication, – I’ve interviewed Dr. Mann numerous times, and shared the podium with him at American Geophysical Union, and the University of Iceland.

supportdarksnowFor the anti-science community, Dr. Mann became a target for the simple reason that his graphical image of warming temperatures over the last millenium was precisely what the PR specialists at right wing think tanks fear most – a simple, clear, understandable and “sticky” meme showing the effects of fossil fuel burning over time.

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For producing effective science, Dr. Mann had to be targeted and destroyed. Nothing personal – just business.
Fortunately for the rest of us, the science behind the Hockey stick has been affirmed by dozens of subsequent studies by different groups using different methodologies.
And Dr. Mann himself, instead of proving an easy target, has developed into one of the most widely recognized and effective communicators of climate science.

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Alright, here’s an update on how we are doing in the fundraiser.

So far, total raised has been about 8000 dollars, as of may 22 or so. The good news is, that’s enough to get me where I’m going. Now, goal is to be able to, like, eat and stuff when I get there.

Important to note that the biggest part of that pot has been from a very few generous donors, and smaller amounts from 37 or so just regular folks.
That’s good news. It means we’re going to make it. I’m going. It means that there’s a ton of room for regular readers to help out,  you’re not alone, and you know your money is not going to be wasted on a lost cause – we can see the goal line from here. So weigh in with 10, 20, 500, or a Bernie-like 27 dollars.

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The mission is to provide more of what Slate’s Bad Astronomer Phil Plait called a “great resource” – the best available first-person interviews and on-location science communication in what is shaping up as the most critical year ever if humanity is going to turn the corner on climate action. That’s big – and I need your help.

If the mass media was doing its job, none of this would be necessary – but we are where we are, and it won’t happen if we don’t make it happen.

The planet as a whole is scorching so far, but the Arctic is ground zero for truly earth shaking change. It’s getting hard to see how we avoid a new record low in Arctic Sea Ice:

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The other critical component of arctic ice is the giant Greenland ice sheet, where 22 feet of potential sea level rise is piled in an increasingly vulnerable position.  Already we’ve seen indications of record breaking spikes in melt.

greenlandspike Read the rest of this entry »