Claim: Exxon Shifted Blame for Global Warming from Oil Companies to Consumers

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

You have to wade through 5 paragraphs of “Harvard Research” before seeing “Naomi Oreskes”. Other outlets didn’t mention her name at all. I wonder why news outlets seem so shy about leading with her name?

Exxon Mobil’s Messaging Shifted Blame for Warming to Consumers

An analysis of the fossil fuel company’s documents also found it tried to downplay the dangers of climate change

By Maxine JoselowE&E News on May 15, 2021

Exxon Mobil Corp. has used language to systematically shift blame for climate change from fossil fuel companies onto consumers, according to a new paper by Harvard University researchers.

The paper, published yesterday in the journal One Earth, could bolster efforts to hold the oil giant accountable in court for its alleged deception about global warming.

“This is the first computational assessment of how Exxon Mobil has used language in subtle yet systematic ways to shape the way the public talks about and thinks about climate change,” Geoffrey Supran, a research fellow at Harvard and co-author of the paper, said in an interview with E&E News.

“One of our overall findings is that Exxon Mobil has used rhetoric mimicking the tobacco industry to downplay the reality and seriousness of climate change and to shift responsibility for climate change away from itself and onto consumers,” he added.

A spokesperson for Exxon Mobil disputed the paper, calling it part of a coordinated legal campaign against the company.

Supran and co-author Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard (and Scientific American columnist), conducted a computational analysis of 180 Exxon Mobil documents from 1972 to 2019, including peer-reviewed publications, advertorials in The New York Times and internal memos.

Read more:

Seriously, are Scientific American and other outlets worried people wouldn’t read past the headline, if they saw Oreskes name?

I suspect the problem is Oreskes hasn’t said anything new in a long time, always banging the same drum. And she isn’t actually offering a solution.

The core problem, there is no serious alternative to fossil fuel. EVs are too expensive, and most of the world’s fossil fuel powered grids would buckle if more people decided to go electric.

There is no hope renewables will significantly replace fossil fuel infrastructure, they are simply too unreliable. Either people accept the misery of unreliable energy, or they pay for two sets of infrastructure – the virtue signalling renewable system, and the “backup” system, which has to be kept on hot rolling standby, in case a cloud covers the sun.

Nuclear power could replace fossil fuel – but as Willis’ superb analysis demonstrates, it would take decades of massive investment to replace fossil fuel infrastructure with nuclear power stations. The money going full nuclear would cost, that is an awful lot of schools and hospitals which would not be built.

I’m no fan of breathing in exhaust smoke, as a severe asthma sufferer I’d love if there was an easy solution to eliminating fossil fuel pollution. But no such solution currently exists.

Naomi Oreskes, if you want people to start paying attention again, make an effort. Say something new. You don’t need to hide your name in the sixth paragraph, all you need to do is say something interesting. Come up with an idea for eliminating fossil fuel which does not require massive government intervention or exorbitant costs, or slamming fossil fuel companies with new burdens, the cost of which would inevitably be passed on to consumers in some form.

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May 19, 2021 6:10 pm

Exactly. This kind of propaganda is just one step (or carbon footprint) closer to achieving Agenda 21 …

Reply to  John Shewchuk
May 20, 2021 6:25 am

When someone on this site talks about the “Agenda 21” conspiracy theory, it looses even more credibility. Sure, I understand this a fossil fuel apologist, anti renewable energy web site. But some of your enthusiastic followers should take of their aluminum foil helmets off before posting.

Reply to  Tony
May 20, 2021 6:32 am

It’s not a conspiracy — it’s a document ..

Bryan A
Reply to  John Shewchuk
May 20, 2021 3:44 pm

Damn…Oreskes is 2 bricks short of having a brick!!

It IS the end user that causes the ultimate release of the stored Carbon in the HydroCarbons creating CO2 as a byproduct of oxidation from its combustion.

Saying it is the Oil Company is like blaming Remington or Smith & Wesson for murder when their products are used (misused) by individuals for nefarious purposes.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Tony
May 20, 2021 8:24 am

And you should take basic English son, it’s lose not loose, get it now, lose lose lose not loose you millenial retard.

And here is the UN’s 2100 sustainability agendi.
It isn’t a conspirace theory, it is just what the environMENTAList’s do….

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

Reply to  Tony
May 20, 2021 8:30 am

Agenda 21 exists and is backed by a lot of very influential leftists.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  MarkW
May 20, 2021 3:14 pm

Marxist’s is a more accurate description Mark

Jon R
Reply to  Tony
May 20, 2021 4:15 pm

Tony I understand you just got off the turnip wagon but you might want to take a look around before making too many proclamations. How did you find your way here from Snopes?

Forrest Gardener
Reply to  Tony
May 20, 2021 5:56 pm

… and every time someone like Tony tells readers to abandon a conspiracy theory the more interest is generated in that very theory. And of course we all know what happens when theories turn out to fit the available facts.

Rich Lentz
Reply to  Tony
May 23, 2021 1:52 pm

Agenda 21 is being implemented as we speak. Obama called it Sustainability and forced it into EVERY governmental Agency, Department, Commission, DOD, municipality, entity, etc. Worse, look at the building code for any municipality in Alaska and compare it with one for any municipality in Hawaii. They are virtually identical. Now ask yourself WHY? Why should a residential home in HI be built exactly like one in AK???

May 19, 2021 6:12 pm

Oreskes is a definite one trick pony. Trying to draw parallels between “big tobacco” and “the evil fossil fuel industry” is strained at best, and she does not note that the civil lawsuits against big tobacco only won because ex post facto laws and bills of attainder apparently do not apply to civil suits.

Russ R.
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 22, 2021 6:38 pm

The food you ate today, grown, processed, and transported to you thanks to fossil fuels.
Big Tobacco ever do that?
We have fossil fuels because we need them. We don’t want them. We need them to provide the energy we need at a cost that is affordable, and reliability that meets our requirements.
They provide a product to consumers, and consumers willingly purchase that product because it meet their needs.
And asking the government to take that away is crazy talk from those that offer no alternative that meet the needs of the consumers of the products.

May 19, 2021 6:25 pm

as i said the other day
she is a hypocrite only in it for the money
she has no integrity so she hides and throws stones
unfortunately society has started to let individuals like her exist

Reply to  John
May 20, 2021 8:11 am

In addition to the money she makes, she has a small legal industry behind her making tons of money as well. If this suit ever prevails, it will be open season on any industry whose product produces some negative side effects. (eg gun makers can be sued for World Wars, automakers for highway deaths, etc.)

Time and time again these Big Oil suits get tossed from the court system and time and time again they are resurrected when donated money is found (crowd sourced, NGO contributions or directly from state and municipal governments) to re-file them. And they are the easiest lawsuits in the world to prepare: all you need is some specious garbage argument that is guaranteed to get tossed out of court but that appeals to the funders emotions and superficial legal understanding based on the tobacco model.

So, if you are a law firm in this racket you have a ready source of “rain” and almost no work to perform for it (other than clerk work required for boiler plate filings to submit to the various courts). So it makes sense to give Oreskes (a rather small group) a slice of the pie to keep this all going.

If and when the backers finally wake up, the lawsuits will go from Exxon Knew to Oreskes Knew, and these might have some chance of succeeding. (lol)


PS: And the root cause of this is most likely the loose monetary times we are all living in and the “top heavy” distribution of that money. Look at the stuff people are buying, from NFTs to crypto… in leaner times this kind of money simply would not be available. So why not spend a chunk of money to “regulate your emotions” and save the planet? That beats years of painful psychoanalysis.

May 19, 2021 6:52 pm

The paper, published yesterday in the journal One Earth, could bolster efforts to hold the oil giant accountable in court for its alleged deception about global warming.

This is nothing but nonsense. Read the paper and decide for yourself. No court would allow this paper to be introduced because it is not evidence. It is opinion by the same people who plotted these lawfare cases in the first place.

Reply to  Doonman
May 19, 2021 7:38 pm

Errr… No. Sit (suffer) through a civil trial sometime. “Expert testimony” is all opinion. Even in a case where all of the facts are physical, you will get two diametrically opposite sets of testimony from the expert witnesses for the plaintiff and those for the defendant.

Of course, those are supposed to be informed opinions. The only information that dear Naomi has, or indeed cares about, is the number of zeros on the check she was just handed by the Green Scammers.

Reply to  writing observer
May 19, 2021 9:19 pm

Hiring experts to testify for you in legal action you bring is only permitted when both sides stipulate that the expert is qualified in the subject and impartial to the outcome.

Writing your own paper for use in your own planned legal actions and claiming it’s expert testimony is not going to fly anywhere.

Reply to  Doonman
May 20, 2021 4:27 am

Writing your own paper for use in your own planned legal actions…

Yep, that’s why they are all busy little beavers, writing papers for each other to use in courts beholden unto the very same people who need us to believe in this shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……
But one has to respect that they “…conducted a computational analysis of 180 Exxon Mobil documents…” I mean, wow! A hundred and eighty, no less! Most probably written by people who, like Orestes, makes a living from producing distributable copy with the “correct” tone.
But it was done by a computer, maybe even one endowed with that new Artificial Intelligence stuff (capial letters, please). That’s computer stuff, that there. Every body knows, computers never make a mistake. How could a computer make a mistake, when the humans programmed it exactly to do what needs be done?

I have previously mumbled about the striking manner in which the anti-smoking campaign was run along the lines of a religious… erm… revolution? Conquest? The very essence of the anti-smoking campaign is religious in nature, and I predict (since circa 1989-ish) that this was/is a practice run for the day they give us a new god. As supportive evidence, I offer the obvious religious nature of climastrology, as well as their latching onto the “big tobacco” pseudolegalistic model, no matter what. Another practice run, or is this gonna be the Big One?
…and thanks for the photo, always wondered who that was, every time I see that face, the Bolshevik predictive programming slams me in the head. Every time, no matter what the subject matter on which is being reported, if she is allowed to comment, it is always (dangerously mysanthrope) Bolshevik drivel! I thought she (that face) is working for the Fed…somewhere in the CIA basements… harvesting the souls from fairies, using their dying words as prompts for her own ‘creativity’…

Richard Page
Reply to  Doonman
May 20, 2021 8:26 am

Of course it’s opinion. It’s always been just opinion. Having failed to gain traction in law courts because she has singularly failed to support her case with facts, she’s now trying the cases in the courts of public opinion. Trial by mainstream media will be the new normal.

May 19, 2021 7:34 pm

What a miserable person she is for pushing bogus arguments that doesn’t support the warmist/alarmist narrative anyway. The “deception” game is all yours lady, something many have known for 17 years now, you are wasting your time pushing a new round of “big oil” persecution that is too outlandish to succeed, it is old and worn out bromide.

They irrationally think beating down a legal company will somehow support their basket case AGW conjecture that at best can be 50% correct.

What a waste of a PHD education she had for the watermelon based propaganda drivel she runs on.

4 Eyes
May 19, 2021 7:56 pm

This is the first computational assessment of how Exxon Mobil has used language in subtle yet systematic ways to shape the way the public talks about and thinks about climate change,” Geoffrey Supran, a research fellow at Harvard and co-author of the paper, said in an interview with E&E News.
“One of our overall findings is that Exxon Mobil has used rhetoric mimicking the tobacco industry to downplay the reality and seriousness of climate change and to shift responsibility for climate change away from itself and onto consumers,” he added.

And if climate change, the CAGW type, is proved wrong and we wasted unimaginable amounts of money and caused many deaths by denying people cheap reliable energy let’s remember to throw these words right back at every individual alarmist including Oreskes, Hollywood, Gore, Kerry, Biden, the IPCC etc.

Reply to  4 Eyes
May 20, 2021 12:27 am

“This is the first computational assessment of how Exxon Mobil has used language in subtle yet systematic ways to shape the way the public talks about and thinks about climate change”

Computational assessment???

Reply to  Chaamjamal
May 20, 2021 2:29 am

Put another way, just another computer model! (Though, admittedly, one that just might have marginally more credibility than the climate ones.)

Reply to  Chaamjamal
May 20, 2021 5:53 am

Magic words! Computational assessment

Reply to  4 Eyes
May 20, 2021 5:12 am

Of course consumers are responsible.

shift responsibility for climate change away from itself and onto consumers”

People want affordable lighting in their homes, warm interior spaces, transportation to get where we must and want to go, refrigeration for food etc.

Exxon merely serves the needs of these people. I bet Naomi wants all those same things, she probably has an iPhone. It’s just that she wants them all created and powered by a fantasy and magic power.

Reply to  a_scientist
May 20, 2021 6:07 am

powered by a fantasy and magic power.”

She should be “going to Disney World!”…

Gary Ashe
Reply to  BobM
May 20, 2021 6:25 am

She would just scare the kids with a face like that.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  a_scientist
May 20, 2021 6:24 am

yeah just like consumers of fire arms are responsible for fire arms deaths.

The difference is ofcourse firearms deaths are real.

May 19, 2021 8:18 pm

A useful idiot in it for self promotion leading to money.

May 19, 2021 8:38 pm

It is true that consumers are the end users of oil, gas and goal: even 95% of the Greens are these consumers. They just don’t want to hear that.

Reply to  Antonym
May 20, 2021 10:05 am

100% of the greens.

May 19, 2021 8:39 pm

The world has gone insane, 1930s Germany level of insane. The media ignore the facts and just gourge on any scrap of doomsday prediction and pass it back and forth, hysteria growing with every pass. And the supposed bleeding heart environazis don’t care about how the poor are going to afford their electric bill, how much money is flushed away making left wing cronies rich.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  PCman999
May 20, 2021 6:26 am

If it bleeds it leads, no-one in the media cares about truth anymore.

Reply to  Gary Ashe
May 20, 2021 10:34 am

It’s still all about money to replace traditional advertisers with agenda ad placements in the news.

John Pickens
May 19, 2021 8:53 pm

Everyone keeps using the term “renewables”, when there has never been a solar panel or wind turbine production system which is powered solely by wind and solar.

In what way, exactly, are these systems renewable?

Can I sue Naomi Oreskes for the fraud which is the claim that wind and solar power systems actually are net producers of energy?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Pickens
May 20, 2021 4:15 am

When a solar “farm” was built next to my ‘hood a decade ago- there were countless bulldozers, log skidders, dump trucks, big trucks carrying out chipped wood. And they were certainly not electric.

John Garrett
Reply to  John Pickens
May 20, 2021 4:15 am

That’s a wonderful question.

Can Oreskes be sued for perpetrating a fraud on the public?

Reply to  John Garrett
May 20, 2021 6:52 am

Can Oreskes be sued for perpetrating a fraud on the public?

Yes, of course. Have you got that kind of money, when even the courts themselves are countersympathetic to your cause?
It is said a good lawyer knows all the laws, a great lawyer knows all the judges. These people party with the judges, and you?
Ridicule and satire, at every opportunity, wherever you can get at one, make fun of their ignorance. It’s the best weapon I can think of so far, and I bin lookin’. I hear the devil hates being laughed at…

Joel O'Bryan
May 19, 2021 8:57 pm

EV’s are mostly today and will be fossil fuel-powered for a long time. The sun simply doesn’t shine at night to provide the juice to recharge batteries, the time when when they are most likely not being driven to plug them in to the grid.

I went digging into the recent article posted here on based on the WSJ reporting on Vistra’s big 400MW/1600 MWhr battery at Moss Point on Monterey Bay California.
article here:

The Vistra battery banks are built right along side a 2 x 530 MW CCGT (for 1.06 GW name plate) power plant operated by Dynegy. IOW, the big battery banks are going to be charged by natural gas generated electricity, not solar PV. If anyone has spent any time in that part of Cal, you know that the fog can roll in off the Pacific in winter and stayed parked for days, precluding any solar PV output. Natural gas in no way is going to get replaced by unreliable solar PV and wind. It simply isn’t. The scam though is to drive the electricity costs sky high (sky-rocket in Obama’s words) to destroy the middle class in the US.

To blame Exxon for climate change is simply a money shakedown scam run by a bunch of ambulance chasers that pay Ms Oreskes a expert fee for her tesitmony when they use her. She’s a fraud, just like the ambulance chasers using networks of Drs who will pad medical bills of accident victims to get more money from insurance companies. This is just a money racket for the lawyers, and Ms Oreskes is just one of many simple dishonest tools being employed.

H. D. Hoese
May 19, 2021 9:30 pm

ONE EARTH is clearly an advocacy outfit.
“We can solve the climate crisis and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by transitioning to 100% renewables, protecting & restoring our lands and seas, and shifting to regenerative agriculture.We can solve the climate crisis and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by transitioning to 100% renewables, protecting & restoring our lands and seas, and shifting to regenerative agriculture….Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals, a book authored by 17 leading climate and energy scientists…..One Earth is a philanthropic organization working to accelerate collective action to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

The paper has 256 references. Number 160–“Renewable Energy: Today’s Basics (Advertorial). The New York Times, 2001” Same source for 123-135, all advertorials. Probably others, too sleepy to check.

Advertorial–“An advertisement that imitates editorial format.” What does the paper imitate?

John Klug
May 19, 2021 10:30 pm

The biggest producer is the Saudi ARAMCO. Why pick on little Exxon Mobil? They hate America?

Reply to  John Klug
May 20, 2021 5:02 am

when they go after Norways huge gov run fossil fuel production , I’ll start paying some attention

Dave Andrews
Reply to  garboard
May 20, 2021 7:52 am

And Norway is way ahead in the adoption of EVs. The irony is that they can only do that by giving generous tax reliefs etc based on the wealth they are earning from their oil reserves.

Chris Hanley
May 19, 2021 10:43 pm

Oreskes believes scientific truth (or ‘approximate truth’) is determined by consensus.
Scientific theories are testable and make falsifiable predictions. Thus, it is a mark of good science if a discipline has a growing list of superseded theories, and conversely, a lack of superseded theories can indicate problems in following the use of the scientific method”.
The history of science is precisely the history of superseded theories and the successors hence the development of the scientific method, yet Oreskes claims to be an ‘historian of science’.

Michael S. Kelly
May 19, 2021 11:18 pm

Ah, Naomi…the gorilla my dreams…sigh.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
May 20, 2021 12:13 am

Be careful, you will get cancelled. Do you know how offensive that comment is to gorillas?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  davidmhoffer
May 20, 2021 2:47 am

Bring on those damn, dirty apes! See if any one of them can hold a candle to my Naomi!

May 20, 2021 12:39 am

Hypocrite Naomi Oreskes shouldn’t be seen or heard.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  saveenergy
May 20, 2021 6:33 am

Well i would settle for not seen, cant be too greedy.

Harry Passfield
May 20, 2021 1:50 am

“[Oreskes]…conducted a computational analysis of 180 Exxon Mobil documents from 1972 to 2019..”

So they didn’t actually READ the docs. Man says: ‘Our of sight, out of mind’; computer says, ‘Invisible, insane’.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
May 20, 2021 4:19 am

“computational analysis” … aka she counted the pages

May 20, 2021 2:07 am

I would dearly like to see the result of running that ¨computational assessment¨ on the WUWT web archive.
I think it would be 42 !

May 20, 2021 2:30 am

Many will be interested to read ‘s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s article in the UK Daily Telegraph about the recent IEA Report.

The article is paywalled so here are a few quotes. Will somebody please, please acquaint the author with reality.

‘Net zero does not cost jobs: it replaces five million lost in oil, gas, and coal with eight times as many jobs for engineers, electrical experts, offshore operators, solar technicians, or lithium and rare earth miners, whether directly or indirectly.’
‘It (net zero) does not raise energy costs: it cuts the average bill for households on heating, cooling, electricity, and car fuel from $2,800 to $2,300 a year by 2030 in advanced countries’

‘Net zero does not leave the world’s poor behind: it saves them. It is the cheapest way to reach 800 million people with no electricity, and a further 2.6 billion people with no clean cooking option.’

‘Free enterprise is pulling forward net zero and is a step ahead of the IEA. But at least the agency has done the world a service. It has yanked the rug from under the feet of those with a vested interest who keep repeating that we cannot afford to stop global warming.
Reading the report, you could conclude if we did not have a climate crisis, we would need to invent one in order to make humanity richer, healthier, safer, more self-sufficient, and less vulnerable to hostile geopolitics. And yes, we crack CO2 emissions as well. Hallelujah.’ 

‘Net zero does not require technology yet to be invented, contrary to the claims of philanthropist Bill Gates, who persists in stating two falsehoods: that “using today’s technology, it will be virtually impossible to meet our goals”: and that “nearly all of today’s existing zero-carbon technologies are more expensive than their fossil-fuel counterparts”.
Mr Gates long ago fell under the spell of Vaclav Smil and the late David MacKay, who got the renewable cost curve wrong by orders of magnitude but remain pin-up professors for the sceptics. ‘

Reply to  Miha
May 20, 2021 5:09 am

Most of the comments under AEP’s piece of garbage (at least, when I read it this morning) were only too happy to acquaint the author with reality. The problem is that pretty much every MP in Parliament, across all parties, will fall for this tripe and use it to justify their fanatical green war on affordable energy.

May 20, 2021 3:50 am

I have to take issue with one statement you make:

it would take decades of massive investment to replace fossil fuel infrastructure with nuclear power stations. The money going full nuclear would cost, that is an awful lot of schools and hospitals which would not be built.

I’m no fan of breathing in exhaust smoke, as a severe asthma sufferer I’d love if there was an easy solution to eliminating fossil fuel pollution. But no such solution currently exists.

Firstly. even on coal rich America, the coal wont last forever. And while I am no Green, coal is damned filthy and polluting stuff.

Secondly the timeline for oil and gas is even shorter, At the moment they are available, and viable all, but nowhere near the low cost that they were in say the 1950s.

That means that other power technologies will be selling into a market of rising prices.

Now, when you analyse the costs of nuclear (or any other) power, it turns out that you can split them into five broad categories.

  1. Capital cost to build the unit in bricks-and-mortar terms,
  2. One off costs associated with raising the money going through planning and getting regulatory approval,
  3. Fuel costs,
  4. Operational and Maintenance costs and
  5. Decomissioning costs.

By far the largest of these are the one off costs associated with getting planning and approval. And these costs are entirely due to Green lobbying and agitation and anti-nuclear propaganda, resulting in officials who won’t grant permission, and a slew of box ticking bureacracy that has to be met.

The amount of manpower that has to be deployed, and the interest on the capital while building the plant, results in decade long build times and capital cost about 4 times what the actual bricks-and-mortar costs are.

Nuclear power stations could be, and were, built for similar money to coal fired ones back in the day. And France under de Gaulles stewardship, was knocking out two power stations a year. It can be done.

This is the context in which several consortia today are developing Small Modular Reactors.

Forget the arguments about Uranium versus Thorium, Rolls Royce, who are heading up one consortium with Exelon, are adamant that they want no ground breaking new (and hence uncertain) technology. They are basing the reactor on decades old small PWR technology, that they have used in submarine power plants effectively for 50 years.

The innovation is to build the units small enough to be factory built, and shipped under type approval on the back of a truck, to pre-constructed concrete pads, and simply bolted on.

The advantages of this are various:

  1. Type approval means there need be no unique and separate dialogue with either planning authorities or nuclear safety authoritries. So long as the unit is built to specification, it can be ticked off on correct installation.
  2. Small unit capacity, whilst less efficient than big, has one massive advantage: Under SCRAM conditions the unit needs no forced cooling to stay safe under high decay heat conditions. The sort of accidents that happened at 3MI and Fukishiam simply won’t be able to happen. So a whole section of time consuming expensive triple belt and braces type systems simply aren’t needed, nor the accompanying training and paper work
  3. The small size means that more localised deployment and a more dispersed grid can utilise them – reactors in the range of up to 300MWe are ideal for municipal power generating. They can – as the Russians do – be mounted on ships, for emergency portable power. And they can also be stacked up on sites suitable for larger generating capacity. This reduces connection and grid costs.
  4. The small size means you need more of them, and the opportunities for mass production and consequent cost savings are great.
  5. The small size means less capital need be raised for a unit, lowering and spreading the financial risk.
  6. The factory construction and type approval means that build times are far far shorter. 1-2 years from planning approval to on grid power seems not infeasible, comparable with the build times of Rolls Royces existing gas turbine power units.
  7. By sticking to one type of reactor, training courses for personnel need not be unique to the reactor.
  8. Spent fuel is designed to be held at the reactor site until its decomissioned. No spent fuel leaves or is transported in the units 60 year lifetime. Unless there is a change of public perception. This avoids the need to get involved in discussions about the disposal of used fuel, for up to 60 years.

None of this represents earth shattering (sic!) technological breakthroughs: What it is, is a considered engineering design specification that has evolved out of one simple question:

“How, in the current regulatory, political and public opinion climate, can we produce and roll out nuclear power at the lowest possible cost and the greatest possible speed?”

Note that, for example, no attention is paid to fuel efficiency per se. Uranium cost is peanuts for the power it produces. Nor to recycling. In the current political and price context it isn’t worth doing. Uranium prices need to rise before its viable.

Willis’ analysis was OK insofar as his understanding of nuclear technology and fossil fuel costs, as they currently exist, goes, but there are developments going on that are designed to be game changers from the get-go.

Irrespective of any arguments about abiotic genesis of oil, of arguments about peak oil, or peak coal, the fact of the matter is that fossil fuel prices are steadily rising as more and more production is unconventional and hence expensive. At a given point it will become too expensive to be viable. In times of low consumption – COVID19 – a lot of it WAS unviable. Brent crude at $30 a barrel does not reflect productions costs of fracked oil up around $60 a barrel…

Todays prices:

Brent Crude Oil Spot Price is at a current level of 69.62, up from 69.24 the previous market day and up from 30.95 one year ago. This is a change of 0.55% from the previous market day and 124.9% from one year ago.

In short we are looking into an energy market of steadiliy rising prices.
And that is really the final point.

Forget decarbonising as a response to ‘climate change’. It is in my considered opinion utterly irrelevant. We will need to move away from fossil fuels in order to actually have access to energy at all – renewables simply dont work, and rely hugely on fossil backup to achieve reliability.

Renewable energy bolted onto a nuclear grid is as much use as sails on a nuclear submarine. An expensive and pointless exercise.

And despite being shouted down by people who dont understand that the term EROEI is the killer metric for any energy source – if it takes more energy to build a windmill or extract some oil, than you get back from it over its lifetime, it is inherently unsustainable – EROEI limits the utility of fossil fuels.

I am sure that we will over the next decades see clever advances in fossil fuel extraction, going into more and more demanding locations, but they will not be cost or energy free. Britain still has large reserves of coalk – it is in fact opening a new coal mine – but they are so deep and far out under the sea that te extraction cost and energy expended to mine them simply isn’t worth the effort. Not when you can buy American coal that has been scraped out of a mountain on open cast workings

There is after all no point in ‘building hospitals’ if you don’t have the electricity to run them.

A decade ago I wrote that nuclear power isn’t an alternative.

It’s the only alternative.

Don’t underestimate the work that is going on now, not shouted about, not in the public eye, by engineers in the UK, the USA, Canada with NuScale, to take nuclear power out of the hands of politicians and put it in the hands of established engineering companies, ready for when the penny drops, that renewables/hydrogen/batteries simply are not going to work.
They know that in the end renewable energy, so called, is as unsustainable as any fossil fuels.

And while the Earth’s store of fissile and fertile material is not infinite either, it’s almost certainly enough to run existing populations at Westerm levels of affluence for a few thousand years.

Which might even be long enough to get fusion working.

There is an old adage that the market can stay irrational longer than you can afford to lose money on sound stocks that are underpriced.

The whole energy market is irrational and distorted by propaganda, marketing, and scare mongering. And would you expect the largest single market in the world, that underpins the whole of civilisation itself, to be left alone to rational market forces?


But you can’t turn bullshit into Gigawatt hours. In the end societies will fail if they don’t adopt nuclear power.

Fortunately work is underway to have a solution ready for when they realise this.

Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2021 8:45 am

Coal won’t last forever, true. However it will last for 1000 to 2000 years. I’m not going to lose sleep over it running out.
As to it being dirty, that was true 50 years ago, hasn’t been true for decades.

May 20, 2021 3:57 am

Has anybody already done a cost/benefit analysis of fossil fuel compared to tobacco?

James Donald Bailey
May 20, 2021 4:55 am

So typical of the left. Doing evil things. Then blaming someone else for that evil. All while continuing said evil. And calling yourself as good.

The left blames all people for AGW. (Except themselves.) That is what slapping the A onto the GW means.

Once the left succeeds in getting control over all A, GW will either disappear from a matter of concern, or it will be used to justify mass deprivation.

I can see it now, Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi yelling ‘No energy for you.’ Of course, it will be at a depression like soup/energy line. One where the elite, who are fattened by excessive energy use, are doling out tiny portions to the energy starved, and saying ‘see what a good boy am I.’ All while using their aide role to control the people, denying aide to any who don’t conform to arbitrary demands.

May 20, 2021 4:57 am

Just another CO₂ demonizing climate alarmist egocentric narcissist, unable to describe herself honestly.

May 20, 2021 5:00 am

Well, except the author of this post repeated a bunch of lies about electric vehicles.

They aren’t too expensive. They start at list prices new at less than 30 thousand, which is substantially LESS than typical new car prices today. They cost far less to fuel, in terms of energy cost per mile driven, than any IC powered vehicle (under a buck a GGE – try buying any gas or diesel for that!). And they cost far less to maintain – any electrical powered vehicle is vastly simpler and less prone to failure than any internal combustion vehicle.

The most numerous electric vehicles in America are of course Teslas – but Tesla designed and marketed their vehicles to compete not with Toyota Corollas but with Porches and Beamers and Maseratis, which is why they are priced as they are. But now we’ve got Chevys and Fords and Nissans that are EVs and they are competing with average everyday economical compact and mid sized sedans and CUVs, and are priced accordingly.

And no, it is a stupid fallacy that operating lots of EVs would crash the grid. Most EVs will be charged overnight, when power demands are far below peak demands which are always in the daytime when most people are awake and doing stuff, including business and manufacturing. That is why power companies for decades have been trying to get companies in particular to switch their ops to night. Seriously, just think about this before spouting stupid stuff.

Stop repeating lies and pretending they are truths – they aren’t.

Reply to  Duane
May 20, 2021 5:57 am

Duane, your costing implies that electricity is 3 cents per kWh. I don’t know where you live, but the latest average for here in the UK I have seen is 22 pence per kWh. That makes a GGE in leccy more than 7 quid here.

And another thing. In the UK more than half the cost of petrol (about 80p in a litre costing £1.30) is fuel duty, which is itself subject to VAT. Tax on the tax. Yes. So if we’re talking about an Imperial gallon, the base price of the fuel is £2.25 ish.

So guess again.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Jit
May 20, 2021 7:24 am

Agree with your comment other than the equivalent price of petrol per gallon. I make it £5:45.
The other thing that Duane confuse in his sleight of hand argument is that saying EVs can be cheaper to buy than some ICEs he needs to compare like with like. If I replaced my ICE Audi with its equivalent Audi EV it would be more than £10,000 more. To get me to change it would have to be the other way.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Harry Passfield
May 20, 2021 7:25 am

Sorry, Jit. Realised late that you were taking of a tax-free price.Ooops.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
May 20, 2021 7:42 am

Harry, to be completely fair, I should have knocked the 5% VAT off the leccy! Petrol is still winning by a mile though. And that’s charging at home. The Instavolt people charge 35p/kWh, and I dunno how they can make money at that rate.

Reply to  Jit
May 20, 2021 9:32 am


Reply to  Duane
May 20, 2021 6:00 am

What is the source of the electricity for powering the EVs overnight? Are there any solar or wind powered EV manufacturing facilities?

Reply to  Duane
May 20, 2021 6:13 am

EV’s are not cheap. Just subsidezed

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Duane
May 20, 2021 6:36 am

You should take your own advice WRT lies.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 20, 2021 8:50 am

If I remember correctly, Duane makes his living selling EVs.

Reply to  Duane
May 20, 2021 8:49 am

Currently, there is excess power overnight. As renewables take over, that will no longer be the case. Even the so called “low cost” EVs are still more expensive than similar cars.

Reply to  MarkW
May 20, 2021 12:20 pm

Demand may be lower overnight now but will that remain the case when most people are charging their cars overnight?

What about office workers who have to recharge during the day?

What about shift workers who WORK at night?

Lots of things not being considered. As usual.

Reply to  Duane
May 22, 2021 10:43 pm

Instantly we go from less than $30K to Tesla. LOL. Model 3 Standard Range $40K. Up from there. Oops. Median household income in US: $68703. Hmm, disconnect much? Try running that Tesla in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan in winter as something other than a secondary vehicle and see how it goes. Oh, and ignore the cost of the actual charger you need, rather than plugging it into a standard socket in the garage.

BTW, base price for Toyota Corolla US $20K.

Math is hard.

May 20, 2021 5:15 am

Exxon is correct, Fossil Fuels don’t increase atmospheric CO2. No you didn’t misread that, Fossil Fuels don’t increase atmospheric CO2. Burning Fossil Fuels, same as burning anything made of carbon, will increase atmospheric CO2. Campfires increase CO2. Exxon doesn’t burn the Fossil Fuels that they create, the consumer does. Why should Exxon be held liable for what a consumer does with its product? The consumer can always drive an electric car, ride a bike, walk and or run. Facts are, one way or the other, the Consumer will pay for this nonsense if Exxon is held liable for greatly improving the lives of anyone that used its product. People only buy and use Exxon’s product because they view the benefits to be greater than its costs. People aren’t buying gas by accident or coercion.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  CO2isLife
May 20, 2021 7:30 am

By the same token, EV owners should be held responsible for all the tailing ponds and child (unsafe) labour required to produce their batteries.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  CO2isLife
May 20, 2021 3:28 pm

”ride a bike, walk and or run.”

All 3 produce excess co2, all 3 require the burning of calories, a resting human exhales around 25,000 ppm of co2 each time they exhale, a human that is exerting themselves, like when giving the wife a portion exhales 60/70,000 ppm, and they exhale twice as often.

Tom Abbott
May 20, 2021 5:52 am

From the article: “I suspect the problem is Oreskes hasn’t said anything new in a long time, always banging the same drum. And she isn’t actually offering a solution.”

That’s what I thought when I saw this article: The alarmists are recycling old smears against the oil companies.

There is no evidence CO2 should be blamed for anything so, Exxon isn’t covering up anything if a CO2 problem doesn’t really exist.

Tha alarmists are running out of attack modes. This “Exxon Knew” mode is a dead end as far as going into court with it is concerned. They must be desperate to try to revive it. A judge isn’t going to go for unsubstantiated speculation. Judges are pretty good at discerning what is and is not evidence. The alarmist don’t have any evidence. They should not go into court and claim they do.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 20, 2021 3:34 pm

If only that were true in this era, in this post modern world we have millennials flooding through the establishments that we could all trust to be rational at one time.

May 20, 2021 5:53 am

Okay, I have the solution. It is simple, it is feasible, and the resources are right in front of us. In addition, the byproducts can be recycled to improve food production.

Go back to horse and ox-drawn vehicles.

Equines and bovines produce large piles of defecatory byproducts that can be utilized for food crops by those grow-house people. Mix it with enough straw and compost it over the winter and you also have a HUGE pile of very rich garden soil, which is a marketable product. Bag it and sell it.

In addition, the unemployed people in cities could be put to work cleaning up those defecatory byproducts and delivering them to local recycling facilities. Eliminate trains, too, by employing draft horses to pull commuter rail vehicles on the rails, as was done in the Regency Period. Yes, it was.

I’d much prefer having a horse again over a car. The cost of grain and hay and bedding is lower than vehicle fuels and maintenance, and a good blacksmith can shoe your horse (or oxen) for less than a new set of tires. Current per bushel price of oats is $3.5650. The current price for a large round of alfalfa is $190 to $215 per ton. The large rounds are for feed lots, so if you break that down to square baled hay, an alfala/clover mix will still be about the same. Bedding is straw, usually wheat straw, small bales go for $4.60 per bale and mixed with those defecatory byproducts I mentioned can be composted and sold as garden fertilizer. You would have to find a hen woman (someone who raises chickens to sell the eggs) but that isn’t all that difficult.

(Hat tip to Georgette Heyer’s thorough research of the Regency Period for some of the above.)

Yes, it would be a much more sedate and somewhat slower civilization, but would you rather walk? And other than the usual stuff, anyone have a better idea?

I have no qualms at all about cooking on a wood-fired stove or heating my home with a parlor stove. Even a Rumford fireplace, which provides an excellent draft for use as a cooking venue, isn’t all that hard to build. And since closed stoves, which we take for granted, weren’t developed until the late 18th century, people still cooked in the fireplace and built outdoor ovens if needed. Ice houses were common, and while kerosene lamps did replace whale oil, they give off perfectly good light. You just have to clean the chimneys regularly.

Any questions?

paul courtney
Reply to  Sara
May 20, 2021 12:18 pm

Sara: I have a question. Can you all go back to horses, but I still get driven around in an SUV to the airport for my charter flight to Davos? Your system is great, so long as there is a VIP/Celebrity exemption. Thanks, Naomi O.

Reply to  Sara
May 20, 2021 3:02 pm

Naaahhhh! You’ll have to walk, swim and paddle a small boat to get there. No celebrity exemptions allowed. in fact, the exemptions (in my view) will go to those who can produce a freshly-baked loaf of bread and a fresh pot of beans, all made from scratch.

So, can you name one Davos visitor who can do any of that……? Nah, me, neither.

May 20, 2021 6:00 am

So Exxon did nothing, this is all the same lies and sh!t spew from the same sh!t spewing liars, rinse and repeat.

May 20, 2021 6:06 am

“I’m no fan of breathing in exhaust smoke, as a severe asthma sufferer I’d love if there was an easy solution to eliminating fossil fuel pollution.”

Charles, I mean no disrespect, I’m very grateful for the time and effort you put in here at Watt’s Up With That, but modern internal combustion engines do not produce any “smoke”. Modern computer controlled engines in conjunction with catalytic exhausts produce only tiny amounts of anything besides CO2 and water.

Modern natural gas electric plants also only produce only CO2 and water as combustion products. Even modern coal fired plants produce very little particulates after “scrubbers” clean the exhaust.

Please don’t play into the hands of the people that are trying to label modern efficient fossil fuel energy as “dirty”.

Tom Abbott
May 20, 2021 6:11 am

From the article: “The core problem, there is no serious alternative to fossil fuel. EVs are too expensive, and most of the world’s fossil fuel powered grids would buckle if more people decided to go electric.”

That is the heart of the matter: There is no serious alternative to fossil fuels in the shortterm. The alarmists can try to force alternatives on us but it is a futile effort that will only end in disaster for millions of people.

Western Leaders are deranged by CO2 and are advocating all sorts of outlandish solutions to a problem they can’t even prove really exists.

The Madness of Crowds. Our Western leadership is suffering from a mass delusion all based on a bogus, computer-generated surface temperatue record that presents the false reality that humans are currently experiencing the warmest temperatures in human history.

This is all a Big Lie. Regional surface temperature charts from all over the world do *not* show we are experiencing unprecedented warming today. Instead, they show it was just as warm in the recent past as it is today, and this demonstrates that CO2 is not a major player in determining the Earth’s temperature.

Yet our Elites are fixated on CO2 control. To the detriment of the whole Western world.

Gary Ashe
May 20, 2021 6:15 am

” I wonder why news outlets seem so shy about leading with her name? ”

Because even they know she is an idiot, and a double bagger at that.

Bruce Cobb
May 20, 2021 6:39 am

News outlets shy? Ba-hahahahahahaha!

May 20, 2021 7:10 am

The core problem, there is no serious alternative to fossil fuel. 

The oil companies merely supplied a demand. Consumers demanded relatively inexpensive energy and the oil companies supplied it. The result is the modern world with all of it’s wonderful developments that make life so much easier and healthier for the common person. So much that we depend on in our everyday lives would not exist, or be so expensive that the common person could not afford it, if the most efficient forms of carbon based energy had never been tapped developed and utilized. .

Without oil and NG we would be mining and burning massive amounts of coal and wood, or IOW other carbon based fuel sources, all of which are forms of solar energy stored over the eons. Oil is just the most efficient form of stored solar energy for many modern applications.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  rah
May 20, 2021 7:45 am

Without oil and gas, there would be a lot less people.

Always keep one eye on the true goal.

Hockey stick graphs abound, real ones exist where you overlay population growth with energy usage, and therein lies the problem that the left is attempting to fix.

May 20, 2021 7:24 am

On my tiny phone screen – that looked like a Cuomo

Shane Gresinger
May 20, 2021 7:32 am

Well it’s not CO2 from fossil fuels causing the problem infact CO2 is actually enhancing the natural growth of all plants which leads to cooling as it reduces the heat island effect.
We all know that Carbon Monoxide after a while when starts to oxidise that it then turns into Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon monoxide will be oxidized by air to carbon dioxide spontaneously in the presence of ultraviolet light or a transition metal catalyst.
Car engine exhaust contains a lot of CO. The catalytic converter box in the tailpipe contains palladium or other transition metals bound to ceramic beads. Air is bled into this box, where the oxygen oxidises CO to CO2 on the surface of the transition metal.
Sunlight catalyses this oxidation in the atmosphere, but more slowly.

It’s the Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air many of which are hazardous.
The solution tho that is to have better burning engines and coupled with mass scrubber within the cities to reduce the PM2.5 and PM10

Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, is a term that describes extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in air. Particulate matter can be made up of a variety of components including nitrates, sulfates, organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen or mould spores). Particle pollution mainly comes from motor vehicles, wood burning heaters and industry. During bushfires or dust storms, particle pollution can reach extremely high concentrations
The size of particles affects their potential to cause health problems:

  • PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less): these particles are small enough to pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.
  • PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less): these particles are so small they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. There is sufficient evidence that exposure to PM2.5 over long periods (years) can cause adverse health effects. Note that PM10 includes PM2.5.

Until people come to terms stop blaming CO2 for everything we will not be able to deal with the real pollution problems as we move on.

Reply to  Shane Gresinger
May 20, 2021 8:58 am

There are claims that PM2.5 is a problem, however much like global warming, the evidence is mostly computer models and faulty studies. There’s a reason why the EPA refuses to release the studies it used to justify the PM2.5 regulations.

Pat from Kerbob
May 20, 2021 7:41 am

On Oreskes, i would suggest similar to the joke Gallagher made about Joe Jackson; “does he HAVE to be in his own videos”?

Pat from Kerbob
May 20, 2021 7:53 am

Logical inconsistency is a feature of the left, not a bug.
As i have pointed out here before, we have many wonderful canadian tourist jurisdictions like Whistler and Victoria in BC, Banff and Jasper in AB, etc etc ad nauseum, who proclaim climate emergencies and willingness to sue fossil fuel companies, and on the very same websites they proclaim how many tourists from all over the world visited the previous year and brag of how many millions they are spending to attract more in the future.

And they cannot see any inconsistency in these positions.

And so i fear that many modern humans are simply too stupid to live.

There should be a job description of a person that stands behind these people with a 2×4 and every time they say something utterly stupid they get a whack upside the head.

A great way to get in shape, if you need a job.

I volunteer.

May 20, 2021 8:27 am

You have to wade through 5 paragraphs of “Harvard Research” before seeing “Naomi Oreskes”. Other outlets didn’t mention her name at all. I wonder why news outlets seem so shy about leading with her name?

Lead with her name or lead with her photo – your call.

She is one of a large cadre of climate alarmists who have been spewing falsehoods for ~50 years about non-existent catastrophic human-made global warming – a politically-driven false alarm that has wasted trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

Their political objective is now clear – the Great Reset – the end of capitalism and the takeover of the Western democracies by totalitarian dictators.

You won’t like it – Live like a Chinese peasant, lorded over by your political masters.

May 20, 2021 9:19 am

Well the truth is, it IS the consumers who demand the product.

John Bell
May 20, 2021 9:22 am

I would rather look at the OTHER Naomi, the cute one!

May 20, 2021 9:41 am

These companies need to find a way to prevent those involved in these suits from using their products. Its past time to start playing hard ball and fighting back. They dont want them .. take them away.

May 20, 2021 10:15 am

Well of course! If there was no demand from consumers for fossil fuels, there would be no production and sales of fossil fuels by Exxon and the like. Harvard researchers ( including Oreskes) don’t comprehend that basic and simple fact???

May 20, 2021 10:31 am

I thought the Waxman-Markey carbon tax bill was all about pushing impact onto consumers without naming them.

May 20, 2021 10:39 am

I think she’s on to something but in the wrong case and it’s at MIT.

ObamaCare architect: ‘Stupidity’ of voters helped bill pass | TheHill

May 20, 2021 2:12 pm

What’s in her wallet?

Gordon A. Dressler
May 20, 2021 3:30 pm

Hmmm . . . changing the meme from “Exxon knew” to “the public knew” (. . . and yet continued using fossil fuels) enables the AGW/CAGW-enabled law firms to now seek “penalty” payments from various governmental agencies representing the current populace.

You know, agencies like the White House, Congress, the EPA, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Commerce, etc., etc. With the Democrat Party’s recent philosophy (“explosion” is more fitting) of the concept of “free money for all” as the means to cure problems confronting the US, it is very likely these organizations will be all too happy to pay out transgenerational reparations (aka “other peoples money”, OPM) in the guise of righting these claimed wrongs.

You know . . . the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons . . . that kind of thinking.

Those lawyers mentioned in my first sentence stand to make $billions with this new approach.

Jon R
May 20, 2021 4:32 pm

Exxon Punch vs Exxon Judy

Welcome to clown world, keep a mask handy, you might need it.

Forrest Gardener
May 20, 2021 5:52 pm

How different her life might have been if only she had been born pretty.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
May 21, 2021 3:54 am

Life isn’t fair.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
May 21, 2021 7:20 am

Undoubtedly, at one time or another, to be blamed on climate change.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Forrest Gardener
May 21, 2021 4:07 pm

It’s not her appearance, it’s her actions and beliefs–what she would do if she had the power–that make her “scary beyond all reason”

Most people do not think that Mother Teresa was a looker. But most people have positive thoughts about her.

Rich Lentz
May 23, 2021 1:43 pm

The dominance of the US or even the “western world” in nuclear power is over. If The US builds Nuclear it will be China doing the Design, Engineering and construction. Look at the Wikipedia “List of Nuclear reactors” and the number of decommissioning’s. Check out the number of prominent universities in the US, Western worlds, offering Nuclear Engineering courses. The majority, (all – almost) of the US builders of nuclear power plants have sold out everything offshore.
I know that I will not live long enough to see a significant increase of nuclear power in the US and it will continue decrease and to get decommissioned. Just as it did in the EU.
The first commercial NPPs in the US were built and sold to the utilities for $60 to $100 Million. None of them have had a dreaded meltdown. The newest ones built cost over $6 to $10 Billion. Are they over a million times safer? NO! ! If airplanes had the same “Oversight” as Nuclear Power Plants no one would be flying. More than half of that increase in cost goes to the banks.

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