One Finite Planet

One Finite Planet

Big Oil, AKA Big Fossil: How real, and what about ‘big climate’?

Page Contents

Relevant Topics:

All Topics
More On This Topic

Cost of coal power vs renewables: China expanding coal while the suckers go green?

If coal fired power can no longer compete on price, then why is China building two new coal power plants per week? Is China somehow able to use coal fired electricity to gain a competitive advantage against western manufacturing which increasingly relies on “clean green” but more expensive energy, with the result that emissions and jobs are simply transferred to China?

The current politics of climate agreements encourage rich countries to offshore some emissions to those countries often forced to be more reliant coal and with higher emissions. Could we fix the problem of China syndrome emissions if there was the political will?

Read More »

Righteous environmentalism: an opium for the people concerned about climate.

There is a real need to protect the environment, and advocacy for the environment is great, but that advocacy can acquire traits of a religion, which at the extreme can even result in far-right eco-terrorism, and more in the mainstream can result in righteous environmentalism and embracing austerity and sacrifices as “an opium”.

The “righteous environmentalists” preach this austerity as necessary life of the future to an audience that just see the rich becoming even richer. This blindly serves an alternate agenda and needlessly alienates and disenfranchises much of the population. The result is do-nothing politicians to get re-elected instead of motivating voters for real action on climate change and electing leaders who will act.

Read More »

COP27: Climate change action sabotage?

Reports from COP27 seems indicate the key initiative this year to make wealthy nations cover the cost of the damages poor nations will incur as a result of emissions that have main originated from those wealthy nations.

The proposal as it stands has a missing an essential piece, and trying to cover for that essential piece, appears most to likely to increase emissions, and move COP away from a focus on solving the climate crisis and instead toward just fighting over the cost.

This is a troubled look at the key flaw in what has been put forward and the real solution that should be in place.

Read More »

Did Al Gore nail it: Is climate change merely inconvenient, or is it an existential threat?

Claims that +1.5oC warming would be ‘catastrophic’, and that climate change represents an ‘existential threat’ can be quite vague as just what is ‘catastrophic’ or an ‘existential threat’?

This webpaper, seeks to translate ‘catastrophic’ outcomes and ‘existential threats’ into more concrete outcomes.

“We recognise climate change is a serious problem and are committed to net zero by 2050 in order to prevent the disastrous consequences anticipated to occur by around 2026”

Typical government position: Is it ok?

Read More »

The Power struggle in Australia.

From “the biggest corruption scandal ever” in Brazil, problems in Venezuela, human rights in Saudi Arabia and Iran, to the problems caused by lobbyists against action on climate change, an abundance of fossil fuels is a source of political power, yet rarely force for good, and Australia, with a wealth of coal and gas, is not spared.

The current crisis in Ukraine not only drives up energy prices globally, but it also creates a dilemma for gas producing nations.

Read More »

EVs are green but there is no quick fix green transition.

There are many claims that EVs result in more emissions than fossil fuelled vehicles. The reality is that even when an EV is powered from a ‘dirty’ grid, it is clear that driving an EV does creates less emissions. Plus, although some EVs create more ‘build emissions’, EVs still have less lifetime emissions, even on today’s grids. The EV transition will reduce emissions provided it is not rushed.

But the transition still won’t produce the desired emissions until the grid is also clean, and it will take decades to replace traditional vehicles on any sensible schedule.

Buying an EV is better for the environment in the long term than buying an ICE vehicle but can be worse for the environment than just keeping the current vehicle. The key finding is that while it is best to stop buying so many new ICE vehicles ASAP, there should be no rush to replace existing ICE vehicles with EVs, and instead allow existing vehicles the around two decades until their normal scrap date.

Read More »
All Topics

Page Contents

Yes, big oil with value at over US$7 billion per day in revenue at stake clearly has a vested interest in arguing against climate change and downplaying risks, but on the other hand, aren't there also vested interests exaggerating and overstating the risks of climate change? Effectively could 'big renewables', 'big science' or 'big climate', be out lobbying and out promoting 'big fossil'?

Is this really a balanced fight, or is it more like the might of 'big tobacco' vs 'whistle blower medical research' all over again?

This is a look at the financial might on each side of the argument, and the respective motives for each side to overstate their case.

Big Oil, AKA Big Fossil: How real, and what about ‘big climate’?

Yes, big oil with value at over US$7 billion per day in revenue at stake clearly has a vested interest in arguing against climate change and downplaying risks, but on the other hand, aren't there also vested interests exaggerating and overstating the risks of climate change? Effectively could 'big renewables', 'big science' or 'big climate', be out lobbying and out promoting 'big fossil'?

Is this really a balanced fight, or is it more like the might of 'big tobacco' vs 'whistle blower medical research' all over again?

This is a look at the financial might on each side of the argument, and the respective motives for each side to overstate their case.


There is clear evidence that significant funding is directed to promoting the continued use of fossil fuels, which is going to lead to a lot of bias material intended to sway public opinion to the view that any risks posed by climate change are questionable.

Then there is the counter argument that is scientists also have a bias, and that scientists also have a motive to exaggerate any climate change threat, making what scientists say no more unbiased than what fossil fuel companies say.

This is a look at the reality of each side actively pursuing an agenda, and the budget each side has to promote that agenda.

Most people feel they are not really influenced by advertising and promotion, which would mean companies like Apple, KFC or Coca-Cola who spending billion advertising and promotions simply do not know what they are doing and are just wasting that money. Plus, it would also mean there was never any need to ban cigarette advising etc, and there is no reason to be concerned about election, funding as there is no advantage to be gained from having a bigger advertising budget.

Or, perhaps, it is that most people feel only other people are influenced by advertising and promotion, just like most people feel they are a better than average driver. Even if only other people are influenced, the budget that goes into influencing opinions does have some effect.

This is a page to examine the budgets available to various advocate groups, and who spends what budget and efforts to influence support for renewables vs fossil fuels.

What is evidence to validate statements that ‘big oil’ has a huge budget to spend on downplaying and debunking climate change? Is three really anyone with a vested interest in exaggerating climate change, with anywhere near a similar budget? Logically, if there is a media bias, it will go with the money. Realistically from what I can see, the money is against any claim that climate change presents a real threat.

This page will collect links evidence of a budget on either side of the debate. The page should be updated over time, providing an increasing number of links to articles about funding either for, or against, climate change.

For balance, I examine whether ‘big climate’ or ‘big science’, could fund biased data to counter any efforts of made by ‘big oil’.

The reality is, we do have a similar fight to ‘big tobacco’ vs ‘big non-profit medical researchers’ all over again. Remember, how doctors earn more when more people are sick, yet they came out against tobacco?

Could this be the opposite and somehow science is finding for more research funding from ‘big science‘ or ‘big green energy’ than the companies and billionaires of ‘big oil‘ find from the over US$7 billion per day in oil revenue? In the end, the only thing that really seems clear is that for intelligent highly qualified people, research scientists are not paid well enough to suggest they are mostly doing it for the money.

Who are big oil / big fossil?

The companies.

It is not hard to find organisations of significantly wealth, who stand to lose a lot revenue if sales of fossil fuel products are reduced. Here is an extract from the list compiled by influencemap, of just such companies who lobby and act against measures to limit climate change.

As you can see, all the companies have substantial means to pursue their agenda, and either earn revenue, save costs, or improve market position from the continued use of fossil fuels.

See the links and resources section below for articles on the spending of ‘big oil’/ ‘big fossil’ to influence beliefs.

Big fossil revenue at risk.

The total revenue from fossil fuels is quite astounding. The world currently consumes over 97 million barrels of oil per day which at time of writing represents a value at over US$7 billion per day in revenue.

While Elon Musk could be considered a billionaire, this status is recent so only since 2017 could he be considered ‘big renewable auto’.

Which means any ability of Elon Musk to influence opinions has been very recent, which contrasts with Rockefeller, J. Pail Getty, the Saudis, the Sultan of Brunie and many more oil billionaires, as shown by a few sample lists:

The list under ‘big science‘ is not really comparable.

What about big renewables, big science or big climate?

Big Renewables: Big Sun, Big Wind.

There is direct equivalent to oil and gas billionaires

If a company could own the rights to sunshine, or wind energy, the way a company can own supplies of oil, coal or gas, then there would be two equal sides arguing which should be used for energy. But in the end, no one monetises the sun or wind itself, and no one, at least so far controls supply. This means the amount of money available to promote fossil fuels is orders of magnitude beyond that available for promoting green energy. Further, there are entire nations, such as Russia and those in the middle east, who have a vested interest in promoting continued use of fossil fuels. Plus, even governments in countries without any reserves of fossil fuels, achieve more economic activity and taxation revenue from the sales of fossil fuels than is possible with renewables, which can though home solar etc, even allow consumers to have energy without any opportunity for the government to take a cut.

If someone finds a way to earn as we use sun or wind, then this could become a reality, with implications beyond energy.

Elon Musk and Big Electric Vehicles (Big EVs)?

Elon Musk became the world’s richest man at one point though the value of his shareholding in Tesla, a company that it could be argued would have failed without renewable energy, in the same way that Henry Ford also profited from the plentiful supply of oil.

However, this wealth was only since 2017 as, pre

While Elon Musk could be considered a billionaire who has benefited from climate change through Tesla, as recently as 2017 Tesla was yet to ever return a profit and was on the brink of bankruptcy:

In the middle of a discussion about Tesla’s fundraising history, a follower asked, “How close was Tesla from bankruptcy when bringing the Model 3 to mass production?”

Musk replied: “Closest we got was about a month. The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid-2017 to mid-2019. Production & logistics hell.”

Elon Musk says Tesla was ‘about a month’ from bankruptcy during Model 3 ramp

Musk is not a direct equivalent to an oil billionaire, and he only achieved sufficient wealth to use it to influence people very recently. Having taken over twitter have an

Big renewable energy equipment manufacturers and suppliers?

There are companies who make solar cells. There are companies that make the turbines for wind farms. These equipment suppliers of ‘renewable energy equipment’ are the equivalent of oil rig construction companies or mining equipment companies. Note that oil rig construction companies and mining equipment companies do not make the list of ‘big oil’ or ‘big fossil’. In the end, supplying equipment just isn’t a big enough business to justify the spending required for a publicity campaign, nor is it so specialised that the industry relies on building one specific thing.

So: no ‘big equipment suppliers, either supporting fossil fuels or renewables.

Big Science.

I searched for a list of richest climate-scientists, but it found best climate scientists, but no richest climate scientists. I did find list of richest scientists, but no climate scientist made the list. If smart enough to be a scientist and you care about money, climate science is a poor choice.

Also, there is no evidence of a ‘big science’ industry. Scientists are people who work in industries that monetise science, but science itself is not an industry. A scientist could make big money from, for example, the pharmaceutical industry, for their breakthrough research, but the industry making money is pharmaceutical industry, and there is no science industry. Scientists are either poorly funded pure researchers employed by research bodies or employed by industries that can profit from scientific research.

Scientists doing climate research generally not funded by any industry, but instead are funded by research bodies.

One thing ‘the big bang theory‘ comedy gets right, is that research body scientists are not well paid, and research funding is limited. Despite the suggestion that these people, despite being highly intelligent, could not find work if not for research grants, wall street is one of the top employers of physics graduates.

People work in science because they are passionate about science. There is no real profit motive for so many scientists to find the same conclusions as everyone else: that climate change is real. In science you get more attention by finding something new, not the same things over and over.

As a scientist you could fight for a government grant, or a big oil grant. Which is likely to provide the better funding? Or is there the possibility of a grant from ‘big climate’?

In any event, there is no ‘big science’.

Big Climate.

So what about ‘big climate’? In the recent Australian election, candidates with a policy supporting action on climate change could get funding from ‘Climate 200‘, a group supported started by a billionaire who wants action on climate change, apparently following his frustration from being expelled from a group to support a politician for calling for support for more action on climate change.

Other groups like this exist and support action on climate change, but there is no evidence any of the donors to these groups have any financial motivation for action on climate change. Sure, the donors tend to be very wealthy, but they become donors after they have gained wealthy from unrelated business activities.

The influence of ‘big’ groups on policy and the market.

Advertising: Consider sport advertising.

First it was tobacco, then it was banned. Then alcohol became the main sponsor, with limits now applied because of negative health outcomes. Currently the most visible advertiser is often gambling, another product that has prompted governments to place limits on advertising. At least in theory.

So why do governments limit advertising of certain products? Because two factors are at play:

  1. Advertising works, with enough advertising, you can change the behaviour of a percentage of people
  2. Many of the most advertised products, result in negative outcomes for those influenced by the advertising

So are fossil fuel companies advertising? Yes:

I plan to more links over time.


At this time, this is an early version of this page, so this section is just a raw collection of largely unsorted links. I hope to improve things over time, but in the meantime there quite a number of stories on how ‘big oil’ spends billions in a fight against action on climate change.