Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Dick Russell [Book Summary]

by Nick

Global warming is a real threat to human existence, states journalist Dick Russell in his emotionally-written book.

The author is convinced that the transition to environmentally friendly energy sources is possible, but he is hampered by powerful forces in the person of energy magnates, who spend tremendous amounts of money to misinform the public and sow distrust of the results of scientific research.

Talking about those who influence global warming disputes, Russell takes the reader from shale oil deposits in Oklahoma to offices in Washington and headquarters in Houston. In his presentation, a group of leaders in the oil and gas industry turned into “enemies of all life on Earth.

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“Dark Lords” Deny Global Warming

The climate of our planet is getting warmer, natural disasters are taking more and more lives, and eliminating their consequences is becoming more expensive. World scientists unanimously believe that human activity, or rather, the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause of climate change.

Nevertheless, a small but very influential group of people refuses to recognize this fact, thereby creating a threat to the existence of our civilization. The “Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are the Koch brothers and former ExxonMobil executives Lee Raymond and Rex Tillerson.

These oil tycoons misinform the public about the findings of climatologists and counteract the desire of the public and private sectors to switch to environmentally friendly forms of energy. Although these people are hiding under the guise of respectable citizens.

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Rex Tillerson and ExxonMobil

Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil, who held the post of Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, is one of the main “horsemen of the apocalypse.” ExxonMobil ranks second after Chevron in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. Researchers at the corporation itself have long warned that global warming, the pace of which is accelerating due to the burning of fossil fuels, is a deadly threat to humanity.

Tillerson’s predecessor as head of ExxonMobil, Lee Raymond, took steps to hide these findings, then Tillerson and other senior officials of the corporation did the same. In 2006, Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snow sent Tillerson a letter stressing that he publicly expresses distrust of the scientifically established fact. “ExxonMobil in many ways triggered a discussion that called into question a scientific fact,” the senators wrote, “and it also provides support to anyone who denies global warming.”

They never received a response to their letter. Drought raged in the western United States, hurricanes became more frequent and more powerful, Europe was suffocating from the abnormal heat, the ice of Greenland began to melt, and Raymond and Tillerson still denied the role of human activity in climate change.

“Tillerson, his predecessor Lee Raymond, and all their friends knew perfectly well what the future holds for the planet.”

As a child, Tillerson was a scout. He joined ExxonMobil in 1975 after graduating from the University of Texas. Having become CEO of the corporation in 2003, Tillerson often quoted the oath and laws of scouts in his speeches. He even came up with an incentive system similar to the Scout insignia system: ExxonMobil employees received incentives for team achievements and leadership skills.

However, sacrificing the future of the planet to the profits of ExxonMobil, Tillerson apparently forgot about one of the main scout precepts, which states that the place where the scout visited should be cleaner than it was before it arrived.

“Sixteen of the seventeen warmest years in the history of meteorological observations occurred after 2001.”

ExxonMobil executives attacked climatologists with fierce criticism even before Tillerson became CEO. In 1997, at a time when the Clinton administration was negotiating accession to the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lee Raymond attended the World Petroleum Congress in China.

There he tried to convince the audience that “natural fluctuations” in temperature were observed on the planet, and that 96% of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere from natural sources. As a result, neither the United States nor China ratified the Kyoto Protocol. When George W. Bush came to the White House, Raymond became his energy policy consultant.

“Energy titans like the Koch brothers have no hesitation when it comes to protecting their colossal wealth, even if it means persecuting the highest religious leaders.”

While Raymond, nicknamed Iron, took a tough, uncompromising stance on the discussion of global warming, then his successor, Tillerson, acted more diplomatically. He did not show open hostility to renewable energy sources, but he did not welcome their development.

Under Tillerson, ExxonMobil continued to unfasten large sums to anyone who publicly expressed doubts about the reality of the climate threat, sponsored congressmen who did not believe in climate change, paid for the work of think tanks and other organizations that denied the fact of global warming.

At a general meeting of shareholders in 2013, Tillerson summarized his position on protecting the status quo with the following question: “What is the use of saving the planet if humanity begins to live worse?”

“The time has come to call the villains to justice, put an end to the rule of lies and achieve fundamental changes in the global energy policy that they have resisted for so long.”

ExxonMobil management not only spread lies about the causes of global warming but also deliberately ignored the advanced fossil fuel alternatives developed by its own engineers. So, in the late 1970s, the company’s specialists designed a promising model of an electric motor for hybrid cars, and in 1981 a hybrid version of Toyota Cressida, working on gas and electricity, was even created.

Over the years, ExxonMobil has filed thousands of patents in alternative energy fields. But instead of moving in a promising direction, introducing these innovations and expanding the scope of the company, management chose to focus on quick money.

Pr Manager of the “Dark Lords”

ExxonMobil and similar companies have an influential ally in the face of Washington-based publicist Richard Berman, an expert at proving that global warming is a myth. Speaking to the leaders of energy companies in 2014, he described his vision as follows: “We choose either a dirty victory or an honest defeat.” Berman organized public disinformation campaigns, which were allegedly carried out on behalf of non-profit organizations, while their true authors remained unknown. A lawyer by training, Berman began to hone his techniques in Washington, helping alcohol producers lobby for softening drunk driving laws. And he founded the Center for the Protection of Freedom of Consumer Choice, lobbying the interests of tobacco companies,

“Do people like Tillerson and Raymond worry that their own descendants will not be able to live on Earth?”

Now Berman has put his disinformation skills at the service of energy companies. He created a number of sites (such as LEED Exposed) that deny the viability of building energy-efficient buildings. He also began working with the Bacon-based Beacon Hill Institute, a research center that downplayed the benefits of green energy.

For example, after studying a law in Maine that obliges energy companies to produce part of their electricity from renewable sources, the institute concluded that the application of this law will lead to job cuts and higher utility bills. Organizations associated with the Koch Brothers Empire immediately began to extol this report in every way.

Cracking Boom Falls Off

At first, the boom in oil production using hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which swept the central states of America, was perceived positively. Addressing Congress in 2012, President Barack Obama praised fracking as a guarantor of the country’s energy independence and stated that thanks to this method, 600,000 new jobs would appear in industry.

The US quickly overtook Russia, becoming the largest producer of natural gas in the world. But the fever did not last long. Scientists began to talk about the dangers of fracking; Thus, Cornell University teachers calculated that gas production by this method on the Marcellus shelf, associated with emissions of colossal volumes of methane, has a much greater impact on the climate than coal mining. Cracking also violates geological structures.

Before the start of active oil production by the method of cracking, earthquakes in the state of Oklahoma were rare: there were only a few tremors per year. But in 2013, more than one hundred tremors were observed in the state. In November 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale was recorded, affecting seven other states, and in 2016 with a magnitude of 5.0. The cause of these earthquakes is no secret. “Already in the 1960s, geologists knew very well,” the authors of an article in Scientific American wrote in 2016, “that pumping fluid into the bowels of the earth could provoke earthquakes.”

In November 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale was recorded, affecting seven other states, and in 2016 with a magnitude of 5.0. The cause of these earthquakes is no secret. “Already in the 1960s, geologists knew very well,” the authors of an article in Scientific American wrote in 2016, “that pumping fluid into the bowels of the earth could provoke earthquakes.” In November 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale was recorded, affecting seven other states, and in 2016 with a magnitude of 5.0. The cause of these earthquakes is no secret. “Already in the 1960s, geologists knew very well,” the authors of an article in Scientific American wrote in 2016, “that pumping fluid into the bowels of the earth could provoke earthquakes.”

“According to the World Bank, by 2050, water scarcity will cause unprecedented conflict and massive population migration in the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia.”

Companies that are actively involved in the boom of fracking spend huge amounts of money to conceal the negative consequences of their activities. Continental Resources, Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy (headquartered in Oklahoma City) are putting pressure on higher education institutions in the state.

The rector of the University of Oklahoma is a former member of the Chesapeake Energy board of directors, and Devon Energy has allocated a million dollars to the university to create a department to study geological basins. The university stadium bears the name of Thomas Boone Pickens, an energy magnate who refused to recognize the connection between fracking and earthquakes, believing that “if there weren’t all these stupid seismometers, we wouldn’t know about any earthquakes.”

In 2013, the rector of the University of Oklahoma City Robert Henry received over $ 300 thousand for membership on the board of directors of Devon Energy. The Stephen Agee Institute of Economic Research at the University of Oklahoma City is commissioned by Devon Energy to conduct research on which this company relies, lobbying for its interests at the federal level.

Koch Brothers

The Koch Industries business empire, headquartered in Kansas, owned by the brothers Charles and David Koch, is another rider opposed to energy regulation. In 2014, the fortune of each of the brothers exceeded $ 50 billion. In a 2016 interview with ABC News, Charles Koch argued that the climate “is changing slowly and the process is being controlled.” Echoing Tillerson’s arguments, he said that regulating the industry would increase gas prices, which would hit the poorest people who spend a significant portion of their income on utility bills. In other speeches, he questioned the unanimity of scientists regarding the causes of climate change and even argued that global warming is a completely favorable trend.

“In response to the offensive of industry magnates in science, enlightenment groups are beginning to appear that resist them.”

The Koch brothers give huge amounts of money to defend their position – even more than ExxonMobil. When President Trump appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Prewitt as head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, senators received a collective letter from 23 nonprofits to support this appointment. Of these, 18 groups were funded by funds from the Koch family.

The influence of the brothers is especially strong in Kansas. As soon as Kansas lawmakers and governor Sam Brownback began to support the development of wind energy, the brothers immediately threatened that they would no longer sponsor the governor. Brownback backed away, but getting along with lawmakers was not easy.

Kochs had to not only fork out for this, but also organize another disinformation campaign. Two brothers-funded think tanks, Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Policy Institute, have begun to argue that Kansas residents are supposedly paying more for electricity due to the use of wind power. In the end, the Koch brothers achieved their goal: a number of reservations and restrictions were made to the laws that supported the development of wind energy.

Glimmers of Hope

As the horsemen of the apocalypse continue to vigorously deny the fact of global warming provoked by man, the situation is becoming increasingly alarming. Even if today we take and sharply reduce all harmful emissions, the temperature on the planet will continue to rise for many decades. Climate change portends a lot of new conflict and suffering.

Thus, according to World Bank forecasts, in the coming years, water shortages will increase in the Middle East, North Africa and Asian countries. The effects of climate change on children will be especially severe. According to a 2016 study by Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, 85% of children in the world’s poorest countries are already suffering from the adverse effects of global warming. High temperatures will harm the development of the fetus in the womb,

“”Dark rulers” love to appear in the image of a kind family man, sponsor of charitable societies and arts, a sort of pillar of society.”

Nevertheless, there are glimmers of hope. Although ExxonMobil has denied global warming for its own benefit for many years, it has recently come up against resistance. So, in 2014, the board of the influential Rockefeller Brothers Fund decided to support a green energy movement led by activist Bill McKibben. In support of its new policy, the fund announced that it would sell all of its shares in ExxonMobil and other oil and gas holdings. In addition, in 2015, it turned out that ExxonMobil intentionally hid the results of its study on the causes of global warming, and the Department of Justice ordered the FBI to investigate and establish whether the company violated the law by hiding these results. As the Los Angeles Times wrote,

“Sudden hurricanes, the melting of huge masses of ice, droughts, causing death, and temperature anomalies are observed on the planet more often, so we should regularly remind ourselves that all these disasters are the work of our own hands.”

The cost of solar panels has fallen sharply in recent years, making solar energy economically attractive. In addition, the solar industry is gradually turning into a major employer. In 2016, more Americans were employed in it than in coal, oil and gas companies combined. In the field of solar energy, the active creation of innovations continues; for example, floating solar power plants have proven to be an effective solution.

Contrary to all efforts of the “horsemen of the apocalypse” to disseminate false information about global warming in schools, more than half of the US states have adopted new standards of study in the field of natural sciences, according to which global warming is recognized as a real threat. The Portland School Board (Oregon) has decided to exclude textbooks and any other material that jeopardizes this threat. All this suggests that society is gradually beginning to oppose the actions of the “riders”. But they still do not let go of the reins.

Conclusion

  • The climate is getting warmer, and natural disasters are taking more and more lives.
  • A small group of very influential people refuses to recognize the reality of global warming, threatening the existence of civilization.
  • One of these “horsemen of the apocalypse” is Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil, who served as US Secretary of State in the administration of President Trump.
  • Decades ago, researchers at ExxonMobil itself warned that global warming, which is accelerating due to the burning of fossil fuels, is a deadly threat to humanity.
  • Tillerson and other ExxonMobil executives have denied the role that human activity plays in climate change.
  • After shale oil began to be actively extracted in Oklahoma by the cracking method, earthquakes began to occur regularly in this state.
  • Fracking oil companies spend huge amounts of money on concealing information about the negative consequences of their activities.
  • Another important player in the fight against energy regulation is the Koch Industries Corporation, owned by the brothers Charles and David Kirkham.
  • Even if all harmful emissions are sharply reduced today, the temperature of the atmosphere will rise for many decades to come.
  • In recent years, solar energy has become more cost-effective.

Why You Should Read “Horsemen of the Apocalypse”

  • To find out about the possible threats of global warming
  • To become aware of the environmental problems that now exist
  • To stay informed and help prevent the Earth environment crisis

This book is available as:

Audiobook | eBookPrint