Newsweek gets duped by Big Oil — for real — in worst Big Media story of the year

Big Oil Goes Green for Real

So blares the Onion Newsweek headline.

Forget that Big Oil’s product is a principal cause of the gravest environmental threat to the health and well-being of humanity (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water“).  Certainly forget all the other environmental impacts of oil.

Forget that Big Oil is a principal funder of disinformation aimed at blocking action on global warming — see “Leaked Memo:  Big Oil is manufacturing ‘Energy Citizen’ rallies to oppose clean energy reform and “Even fantasy-filled American Petroleum Institute study finds no significant impact of climate bill on US refining.”

Newsweek says we should focus on the truly small stuff:

So how should we take the spate of new green announcements from the world’s major oil firms?

Uhh, not BP:  “BP stand for ‘back to petroleum’ “” oil giant shuts clean energy HQ, slashes renewables budget up to $900 million this year, dives into tar sands.”

And not Shell:  “Shell shocker: Once ‘green’ oil company guts renewables effort.”

And not everyone else:  “Big oil made $600 billion under Bush, but invested bupkis in clean energy, Part 2: Details on BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Shell and ExxonMobil.”

Here is the basis of Newsweek‘s nonsensical spin:

In July, ExxonMobil announced big plans to grow green algae to fuel cars.  In July, ExxonMobil announced big plans to grow green algae to fuel cars; last week, Chevron unveiled the world’s largest carbon-sequestration project in Australia; and in recent months, Valero, Marathon, and Sunoco carried out a series of acquisitions that resulted in Big Oil controlling 7 percent of the U.S. ethanol business.

The list goes on. And this time it’s the real deal.

[Pause for laughter to die down.  Pause longer for subsequent crying jag to end.]

Since when was corn ethanol green?

And ExxonMobil is green … for real?  Seriously, Newsweek?

Yes, forget the country’s biggest oil company has funneled millions of dollars to fund the disinformation campaigns of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, all of which continue to advance unfactual anti-scientific attacks as I have detailed recently (see posts on Heritage and CEI and AEI). Chris Mooney wrote an excellent piece on ExxonMobil‘s two-decade anti-scientific campaign. A 2007 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report looked at ExxonMobil’s tobacco industry-like tactics in pushing global warming denial (see “Today We Have a Planet That’s Smoking!”).

The oil giant said it would stop, but that was just another lie (see “Another ExxonMobil deceit: They are still funding climate science deniers despite public pledge“).  Newsweek should read this excellent commentary by award-winning journalist, Eric Pooley, “Exxon Works Up New Recipe for Frying the Planet.”

But what about nouveau-green Valero?  A recent story notes:

San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. is launching a campaign against proposals to lower carbon emissions by posting signs at its gasoline stations warning customers about the projected increase in fuel prices if the U.S. House-approved bill on carbon cap-and-trade becomes law.

And don’t get me started on Chevron:

And the piece ends with this whopper:

Big Oil is going to be an increasingly important investor in alternative energy. Venture-capital money has dried up.

Not.  In fact “Venture capital funding for renewable energy and cleantech startups (which plunged from last October through March) rebounded in the second quarter” with a staggering “$1.2 billion invested in 67 countries.”

This is the worst major media story on energy this year.

Related Posts:

6 Responses to Newsweek gets duped by Big Oil — for real — in worst Big Media story of the year

  1. Sasparilla says:

    I would not be surprised if this “story” wasn’t pushed to the said “author” by friends in the oil industry. Big companies do that kinda of stuff hoping someone will jump/snag it, sort of PR under the radar.

    Looks like Newsweek was the dope this time – thank goodness it wasn’t the NYTimes again, although they still have time to grab it and run too. ;-)

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    That’s Odd, Let’s See

    That’s odd: About a month ago now, I sent a DVD full of information about ExxonMobil to Newsweek’s Sharon Begley. I also sent one to The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert. And I sent four to people at The New York Times, including Andy Revkin. And I sent one to Rachel Maddow, two to the San Francisco Chronicle, and one here, to ClimateProgress. And I sent copies to Curtis Brainard (CJR), Matthew Nisbet, Chris Mooney, several leading schools of journalism, a good number of the climate action organizations, The Huffington Post, Yale,, Alliance for Climate Protection, Repower America, and etc. etc. etc.

    In total, more than 40 people now.

    I’m waiting for somebody — SOMEBODY, PLEASE — to start covering ExxonMobil well!

    Of course, as Senate deliberations come and go, and as Copenhagen comes and goes, all within the next few months, we’ll all be able to see who covers ExxonMobil intelligently and responsibly, and who doesn’t. That will be very interesting.

    Be Well,


  3. David B. Benson says:

    The October issue of Scientfic Ameerican has an article about enhanced petroleum recovery which suggests this could well extend production for another hundred years.

  4. Phil Eisner says:

    Do not expect Exxon Mobil, or any large oil company to save our planet from global warming. It is we the people in the form of our individual actions to restrict our use of fossil fuels and our governments who will have to do that through laws forbidding CO2 emissions or by putting a tax on them. Oil companies are in the business to find, produce, and sell oil and natural gas, not save the planet. Maybe in some enlightened future it will be different but for now let us get on with pressuring our government to act!!!

  5. Dan K. says:

    Doesn’t seem that the share option is working.


  6. jcwinnie says:

    I was going to observe that the pressure must be getting to you, CP. Laughter followed by a crying jag is Not A Good Sign.

    Then I realized that is terribly, terribly insensitive. Clinical Depression could be a normal adaptive strategy when surrounded by bat sh8t craziness from an increasingly disconnected power elite.

    Forget veracity or journalistic integrity, I’m talking about in touch with reality.