The fossil fuel ceos ruining Earth

Victory will be achieved when the average person is uncertain about climate science.

We perpetually hear about the impact fossil fuels and ‘the big’ corporations have on climate change and Earth, but we never hear about who is executing this worldly havoc.

None are household names but all lead household businesses and all have unconceivable sway over the fate of humanity. They take pride in ruining our place of residence and future livelihoods on the planet for the sake of filling their pockets.

Fossil fuel giants with the most emissions paid $1.18 billion to CEOs over the last decade. While and when the world burns because of their financial greed, what good will the money do them?

It’s not the working people causing climate change, but the very few, for the sake of their very few pockets. Only in getting a grasp of who these people are and who they work for and stopping them at all costs, will we be able to salvage a future for humanity.

​These dreadful conglomerates use destroy-the-accuser type tactics seen by the likes of Weinstein and Trump to forcefully never admit fault.

The Union of Concerned Scientists published The Climate Deception Dossiers, files highlighting how for nearly three decades, many of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies have knowingly worked to deceive the public about the realities and risks of climate change, revealed through a range of deceptive tactics deployed by the fossil fuel industry. These include forged letters to Congress, secret funding of a supposedly independent scientist, the creation of fake grassroots organisations and multiple efforts to deliberately manufacture uncertainty about climate science. All showing that fossil fuel companies have intentionally spread climate disinformation for decades and company leaders knew that their products were harmful to people and the planet but still chose to actively deceive the public and deny this harm.

​Speaking on the dossiers, Union president, Kenneth Kimmel, said: “We included a memo of a coalition of fossil-fuel companies where they pledge basically to launch a big communications effort to sow doubt.

​“There’s even a quote in it that says something like ‘Victory will be achieved when the average person is uncertain about climate science.’ So it’s pretty stark.”

​The campaign of deception continues today.

CEO: Darren Woods
Percentage of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions: 1.98%

Exxon made £5m an hour last year after the war in Ukraine ignited a surge in global oil and gas prices, making them the highest earning western oil company. Benefitting from Russian war crimes was CEO, Darren Woods, receiving a 52% pay rise to £28.7m in 2022.

​11 years before climate change became such a prevalent issue, in 1977 and the decades following, Exxon spent millions conducting pioneering research on the impact fossil fuels will have on the climate, realising the devastating impact with shocking skill and accuracy, even surpassing the quality of projections by scientists and academics.

This knowledge did not avert Exxon in any way, in fact they committed decades to spreading climate misinformation and refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change all together. It would have been impossible for Exxon to not have understood the science and instead understood it and actively engaged in it.

At the dawn of their climate discoveries, Senior scientist for Exxon, James Black told Exxon in 1977:
“There is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.” A year later he warned that doubling C02 gases in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by two or three degrees, aligning with present predictions.

Upon presentation of factual evidence, the company was anxious to find, it turned its pioneering research into pioneering campaigns of public confusion. In 1989 Exxon aided the formation of the Global Climate Coalition which questioned the scientific bases of climate change. It prevented the US from signing, the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty on climate change to control greenhouse gases, which then influenced countries such as China and India to not partake.

According to Greenpeace, Exxon has spent over £25m on think tanks promoting climate denial and half of all greenhouse emissions in out atmosphere were released after 1988, if they had been honest and a part of the solution then we would be in a much better position than we are in today.

Still to this day, Exxon denies its involvement. Woods has been accused of lying to congress over his denial of what his company definitely knew. In fact, Woods sent out a memo urging an industry lobby group to remove a reference to the climate treaty from a draft sustainability announcement. Such a reference “could create a potential commitment to advocate on the Paris agreement goals”, the executive warned.

​Furthermore, soldiers Exxon hired to guard a natural gas facility in Indonesia, committed humanitarian crimes against residents of the village, including sexual assault battery and torture. The case was subsequently settled out of court.

CEO: Wael Sawan
Percentage of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions: 1.67% 

Just as much as Shell is known for its supply of oil and gas, it is also known for its persistent climate U-turns in favour of profit and executive pay.

​Shell recently announced its scaling back of climate change pledges by dropping plans to cut oil production each year of this decade. Originally stating it would aim for ‘an expected gradual reduction in oil production of around 1-2 per cent each year’ and establishing a net zero emissions target by 2050, it swiftly reverted its claims. Instead, production will now remain consistent until 2030 and will invest £32b in the production of oil and gas between 2023 and 2035.

​Pledging to reach net zero by 2050, seized emails obtained in a US congressional investigation revealed internal PR guidance informing employees to frame their net zero goal as ‘a collective ambition for the world’ instead of a ‘Shell target.’ “Please do not give the impression that Shell is willing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to levels that do not make business sense,” reads a Shell PR guidance slide. “Shell has no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio over our
investment horizon of 10-20 years.”

​Co-leader of the UK Green party Carla Denyer says it amounts to ‘pure climate vandalism’, and is “A
sign that fossil fuel companies will not steer us to the greener future we all crave without political leadership from national governments.”

​“Shell are climate criminals, polluting our planet and reaping record profits for shareholders,” adds co-leader and MP Caroline Lucas.

​Shell CEO, Wael Sawan, did himself and his conglomerate no favours when in an interview with the BBC he claimed a shortage of liquified natural gas resulted in children in Pakistan and Bangladesh ‘forced to study by candlelight’ as he advocated against cuts to oil and gas production due to rising costs of living.

​Greenpeace said Shell is ignoring the real threat to such youngsters from already obvious impacts of climate change. Senior Climate Advisor at the campaign group, Charlie Kronick said: Wael Sawan knows full well that climate change is the most dangerous threat currently facing humankind and to pretend that he’s drilling for oil for the sake of Pakistani and Bangladeshi school children, who are already suffering immensely from climate change isn’t just disingenuous, it’s disgraceful.”

​He added: “Shell is gaslighting consumers while cashing in on energy price rises, increasing shareholder dividends and slashing investment in renewable energy, which can provide cheap, clean power across the world.”

​Claire Fyson, co-head of climate policy at Climate Analytics, told the BBC: “The idea that it’s a
choice between our addiction to fossil fuels or working by candlelight is a gross misrepresentation of reality, when we know renewables are cleaner, cheaper and better for public health.”

​Since taking over, Sawan, has restored Shell back to its former staunch self, stressing the company’s need for a ‘ruthless’ approach to maximise profits. He has often been accused of being cynical and determinative, Jamie Peters, the head of climate at Friends of the Earth, said, “Companies like Shell are fuelling both the climate crisis and the soaring cost of energy. They are profiting from the misery of ordinary people while destroying the planet, and they’re making a cynical case to continue locking us into the volatile fossil fuel markets that are the root cause of the energy crisis.”

​Furthermore, in 2019 Shell’s press officer Curtis Smith sent an email wishing ‘bedbugs’ upon the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led US climate group, further accentuating the contempt at which these companies feel for this crisis.

ExCEO: Bernard Looney

Percentage of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions: 1.53%

Despite strongly claiming to support the Paris agreement and ‘to be net zero on an absolute basis’, BP spends over £40m a year lobbying against climate action that would aid our current emergency.

In fact, Greenpeace discovered that BP successfully lobbied Trump to remove regulations to reduce Methane emissions, a gas 34 times more dangerous to the climate than carbon dioxide.

The most damning impact BP has had on people’s lives, aside from climate change, is their fault in the biggest industrial disaster in US history, the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, spewing 200m gallons of oil into the sea. Thousands of people who helped take part in the clean-up effort have been fighting ongoing lawsuit against BP after their health deteriorated drastically after the event, with many experiencing respiratory issues and rashes, and some developing cancer.

During the 87 days in which BP polluted the seas, the valorous clean-up workers whose livelihoods depended on the gulf were told by BP that they did not need to wear breathing protection due to the evaporation of toxins in the waves, despite receiving guidance to do so from the federal government by measuring toxins in the workers’ blood and urine, BP did not. Instead, the firm used air monitoring to determine the safety of workers, but this was not its only goal. Uncovered emails show that safety
of workers was secondary in BP’s motives, the emails stated: “Although we are documenting zero exposures in most monitoring efforts, the monitoring itself adds value in the eyes of public perception, and zeros add value in defending potential litigation,” wrote John Fink, a BP industrial hygienist.

Putting workers through traumatic experiences both during and after the spillage, BP are strongly resistant in admitting guilt in causing widespread health issues among the workers present. The corporation deposed plaintiffs and their doctors for hours on end and argue that without the biological evidence they themselves, BP, didn’t administer at the site, coastal workers cannot prove their illnesses were caused by the spillage. Only one case has resulted in settlement in 13 years.

CEO: Mike Wirth
Percentage of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions: 1.31%

When Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001 it became the beholder of all its civil assets and liabilities, one of these liabilities was what is described as the ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ in which unimaginably Texaco dumped over 72 billion litres of toxic water into the environment, ending up in the water supply and contaminating two million acres of the Ecuadorian Amazon while creating thousands of oily cesspits amid the jungle.

​No clean-up has ever taken place and to this day oily sludge still drains into water cycles used by Amazonian communities and studies show thousands of excess cancer deaths and lung and skin diseases among indigenous people. Disgustingly Chevron even claimed the oil wasted were medicinal and ‘full of vitamins.’

​Initially attempting to scamper without charge, a coalition of Indigenous people and local Ecuadorian communities sued Texaco in New York, garnering support from a group of American and Ecuadoran human rights lawyers, helmed by Steven Donziger.

​18 years later, the coalition surprisingly rightly hammered Chevron down, winning £7.6 billion, based on the results of 54 independent site inspections by judiciaries. Chevron even insisted the trial be held in Ecuador, most likely because of the ease to appease judges financially than in the US.

​But Chevron won’t pay up, a Chevron official said: “We will fight this until hell freezes over, and then fight it on the ice.” They have turned to a ‘demonising’ campaign against Donziger and environmental defenders, citing ‘racketeering conspiracy’ in a tragic attempt to deflect wrongdoing off themselves.

​Armed with 60 law firms and 2000 legal professionals to fight native Amazonians, Chevron steered the case to judge holding shares in Chevron at the time, Lewis A Kaplan. He ruled that Donziger bribed a judge in Ecuador, an unfounded claim based on the testimony of a man who later admitted to lying to Kaplan under oath, and when Donziger appealed to turn over his computer and phone to Chevron during litigation, Kaplan charged him with criminal contempt, imposing millions in fines and placing him under house arrest.

CEO: Charles Koch – “Boy did we screw up” 

The second largest publicly held corporation in America, yet most have never heard of Koch Industries. It is a ‘refining and chemicals company’ that sells no shares on the stock market and has no consumer product, intentionally distancing itself from public perception it has now found itself in a high-profile national policy debate on global warming. 

​Becoming a financial kingpin of climate science denial and partnering with ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute that support organisations and front-groups opposing progressive clean energy and climate policy. In fact, Koch has spent $145,555,197 directly financing 90 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997-2018.

​Greenpeace reported that “The company’s tight knit network of lobbyists, former executives and organisations has created a forceful stream of misinformation that Koch-funded entities produce and disseminate.

​“This campaign propaganda is then replicated, repackaged and echoed many times throughout the Koch-funded web of political front groups and think tanks. On repeated occasions documented below, organisations funded by Koch foundations have led the assault on climate science and scientists.”

​The power of these conglomerates has an immeasurable reach, they literally get away with murder, causing disease and destroying our planet. Governments do little because there are too many vested financial interests, leaving it up to the people to sort this out. They would like you to believe it is a collective fault among people going about their daily life causing climate change, but instead it is a handful of repulsive liars that major oil and gas companies are, in which destroying our world and
distributing false narratives is what they get high off on. It remains with the people that care for the Earth and the future to campaign, campaign and campaign, small things you do like turning the lights off or cycling is not enough to change the world, it your voice that will abolish these billionaire old white men destroying our home and your future.