Book Review: “Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life on Earth and What It Means for Our Children” by Dick Russell, Edited and Introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Hot Books, p. 156
Author Dick Russell has been in the thick of several major environmental battles, including efforts to restore the striped bass and prevent a major salt plant from destroying one of Baja’s breeding lagoons for gray whales.
Now, in his new book, “Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” he is naming names and pointing his finger directly at the people responsible for global climate warming and the outrageous set of lies denying that our climate is changing for the worse.
Ironically, but not too surprisingly, many of the people depicted in Russell’s book have moved into the government buildings in Washington DC to serve the Trump Administration. Rex Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil before being appointed Secretary of State by President Trump, a plum role for a man promoting drilling for oil whenever and wherever hydrocarbons could be found. For forty years, Tillerson worked to drill baby drill. His predecessor and mentor, Lee Raymond, dismissed concerns about US national energy security by stating that: “Exxon is not a US company.” Tillerson has subsequently left the Administration but will likely find a new job with the oil industry or some other major polluting company.
And if you wonder why the US Congress is so adverse to taking action to halt global warming, you need only know that ExxonMobil’s Political Action Committee gave $1.8 million to members of Congress during the 2016 election cycle. (90% went to Republicans.) ExxonMobil alone has accounted for 3% of global warming pollution since drilling began in the mid-1800s.
What is particularly irresponsible is that as early as 1968, the oil industry had its own scientists warning about the damage increased carbon dioxide could do to the Earth’s atmosphere. These studies were suppressed by the oil industry, just as science-based concerns about cancer-causing cigarettes were suppressed by the tobacco industry. In fact, the strategy of the oil industry to deny global climate change and fund anti-climate change research and so-called scientists was picked up from the successful efforts of the tobacco industry.
Russell profiles people ranging from climate-denier Senator James Inhofe, representing the oil companies of Oklahoma and current chair of the Senate Environment Committee; Harold Hamm, the cheerleader of fracking; Peabody Energy’s support for coal mining and burning, which accounts for one third of greenhouse gases warming our planet; and the notorious Koch brothers of Texas, who fund the Tea Party and the Alt-right movements to support their dirty energy empire.
It’s not all bad news, although the depiction of just how much time and money certain people are spending to hold up energy reform will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Russell notes several children of the energy moguls are rejecting their parents’ attacks on the environment and working to heal some of the damage done by their elders.
The Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, for example, is divesting itself of fossil fuel stocks. David Berman, son of dirty tricks PR expert Richard Berman, has publicly denounced his father’s scare tactics.
As Robert Kennedy Jr. notes in his introduction: “Whether we recognize it or not, we are all locked in a life or death struggle with these corporations over control of both our landscapes and political sovereignty… Everything we value becomes expendable in their drive for corporate profits.”
“This book,” Russell concludes, “has sought to put a face on the entrenched evil that has pushed us to the point of no return. As freak storms and vast ice melts and killer droughts and weird temperature spikes plague the Earth with rising frequency, it’s important to remind ourselves that these calamities are the result of human activity. And among those most responsible for this destructive activity are the men profiled in this book.”
Visit Dick Russell’s Blog to purchase the book.
Photo credit Glenn Beltz / Flickr Creative Commons.