Greedy Lying Bastards: Exposing The Fossil Fools Who Put Profit Before Human Lives


One of the few-and-far-between perks of being a climate blogger is that occasionally I get access to books and movies before the general public does. This past weekend I got to watch “Greedy Lying Bastards” before it hit movie screens across the U.S. on Monday. Sunday night I, along with some fellow Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers, got together to watch this 90 minute documentary. This movie exposes the American fossil fuel interests that have been blocking action on climate change for decades, taking a page – and some of the same PR firms and lobbyists – right out of the tobacco companies’ playbook.  Like the tobacco lobby, these fossil fools have opposed government action on the science showing their product is harmful and have actively disseminated lies about the science.

After the movie, I surveyed group members for their responses; we all gave it 10 out of 10 for its topic, but for actual delivery the movie was rated between 6 to 8 out of 10.

Some of the comments were:

“I really appreciated the whistle-blowing, the naming of names. I also really appreciated first-hand accounts of people in the U.S. who are already suffering the consequences of climate change.”

“I haven’t watched a documentary about this topic before, and really appreciated the great graphics. They made the connections for me.”

Two viewers had recently watched “The Age of Stupid” and felt that it spelled out the greed and petro-corruption as well as the consequences of inaction on climate change more clearly than did GLB.

I enjoyed the movie. Of course as a climate hawk I’m thrilled that this corruption and interference in democracy is receiving more attention at this critical juncture in the planet’s history, and for that I want to give a big shout-out to writer and director Scott Rosebraugh and producer Darryl Hannah. Compared to “Age of Stupid” which totally overwhelmed and depressed me and my companion, GLB left me riled up and ready to fight back at these soulless corporate monsters. One critique I have is that the movie ended with a whimper. Rosebraugh offers – in 60 seconds – four actions for people to take in response to the information they’ve just heard (possibly for the first time). It’s not that the actions mentioned (boycotting Exxon & Koch products, asking your Congressional representatives to take action to curb greenhouse gases, “joining the campaign” to stop fossil fuel subsidies and campaigning to overturn Citizens United) aren’t important, they are but to spend 89 minutes of the movie focused on the fossil fools who are destroying U.S. democracy as well as our children’s future without giving viewers more information on taking action may well foster more futility and despair. And, frankly, just signing a petition or writing a letter to your congressperson isn’t going to cut it at this point. The movie doesn’t give enough specifics on responses; the shocking amount of fossil fuel subsidies companies are given every year ($4 Billion in the United States, $775 Billion globally) isn’t even mentioned even while people are encouraged to get active on this issue. To move people from outrage to action, more information and empowerment is necessary. For example, viewers should know that there are governments (Australia, and the Canadian province of British Columbia) who have enacted a tax on carbon pollution, one of the first actions that governments can take to counter the fossil fuel stranglehold on our democracies and our economies.There are groups like and Citizens Climate Lobby (to name the ones I’m most familiar with) who are working to mobilize people at the grassroots; these important resources are not mentioned in the movie or on the movie’s “take action” website. This silo mentality is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to climate action, so I would beg the fine people involved in GLB and its website to expand their resources and “take action” focus. For that reason I would give the movie a ranking of 7.5 out of 10. Having said that, get out and watch the movie if it’s showing in a theatre near you, and take some friends with you.

For my part as a Canadian, I’d like to add a few more GLBs to the rogues’ gallery compiled by Rosebraugh:

Tim Ball worked as a professor of geography at the University of Winnipeg for eight years between 1988 and 1996. I am personally offended by Mr. Ball because not only did he work at my alma mater, and employed a family member for several years as his research assistant, he has been quoted back to me by acquaintances of mine from rural Manitoba where he’s gone on paid lecturing junkets. I hear that he can be very persuasive, and he’s told these good people that climate change is nothing to worry about (“the climate has always changed”), and so they don’t worry, even while this inaction puts their children’s future at risk. He even lies about his credentials – in this 2007 movie that purports to debunk climate science, you can see he’s identified as being from a department that never existed, in the university that he left 11 years earlier. Now that’s what I call a GLB!



And this Canadian GLB gallery wouldn’t be complete without a portrait of our current prime minister, Stephen Harper, son (spawn? LOL) of an Imperial Oil employee who went on to work for the oil company himself. Harper and his party’s ties to Big Oil are well-documented and are clearly playing themselves out in the current federal government’s policy decisions (see Murray Dobbin’s “Stephen Harper and the Big Oil Party of Canada, or DesmogBlog’s new series, Blame Canada).





More links:

Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog: Greedy Lying Bastards: A Movie Review

Washington Post: Greedy Lying Bastards: Movie Review Take Action

The Occupy Movement: A Puny Little “Ant” That’s Messing With The Corporations’ Way Of Life

You let one ant stand up to us, then they ALL might stand up to us. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.”


****** Occupy Canada Weekly News

Canada, A PetroState? The Face Of Climate Corruption in Canada

From The Mark News:

Energy ministers from across Canada have just returned from an all-expenses-paid tour of the tar sands, given to them by the oil companies themselves. Now, they are sitting down to debate the future of energy policy in Canada at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta. This is the face of climate corruption in Canada.

Canada is at a crossroads, and it appears that our leadership has been seriously compromised. While much of the world is investing heavily in the clean, safe, and reliable energy of our future, the Canadian government, along with some provincial support, is insisting that Canada watch from the sidelines while we cling desperately to a resource that is responsible for creating the greatest challenge of our time. I am, of course, talking about fossil fuels and global climate change. Read the full article here.

Meanwhile, if we required more evidence of complicity and collusion between our representatives and Big Oil, it turns out that unelected Senator Pamela Wallin is a director of Oil Sands Quest, a tar sands exploration company. Ms. Wallin helped kill Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, which had been passed by the elected House of Commons. Ms. Wallin referred to Bill C311 as a “nuisance” bill that would “destroy Canada’s economy”. Oil Sands Quest, which Senator Wallin dismissed as “conducting small operations with small footprints” according to it’s website, is not so insignificant:

With over 800,000 acres of land —
Oilsands Quest Inc. is exploring and developing oil sands permits and licences, located in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and developing Saskatchewan’s first global-scale oil sands discovery. It is leading the establishment of the province of Saskatchewan’s emerging oil sands industry.

Whose economy is Ms. Wallin concerned about – Canada’s, or her own?  It turns out Ms. Wallin’s total compensation from Oil Sands Quest has ranged from $136, 885 last year to $442,083.00 in 2009.  It’s time Canadians say enough is enough – we want our politicans out of bed with the fossil fuel industry (remember, the federal government hands out $1 Billion of taxpayer’s money in tax breaks to oil, coal, and gas companies EVERY YEAR) and serving the best interests of all Canadians, especially our children, who deserve a safe and stable climate and ecosystem.

Meanwhile, from The New York Times, the President of Nauru, a Small Island Nation, speaks out on climate change, a “threat as great as nuclear proliferation or global terrorism”. Read On Nauru, A Sinking Feeling.

Take Action:

To contact Senator Wallin and let her know you think she’s in a conflict of interest, call 1-866-599-4999 and ask to speak to Senator Wallin. Let her know that Canada doesn’t need the tar sands to prosper, and that in fact leaving the oil in the ground is the best thing to do for the health and prosperity of Canadians. Make sure you follow up your call with an email to Senator Wallin: And contact your own MP as well.  Canadians deserve better.  If you are on Facebook, you can join the group Canadians Demanding the Resignation of Senator Pamela Wallin.

Thanks for taking action, and (as my friend and fellow climate hawk Cathy Orlando likes to say) joining us on the journey from me to we!

More links:

University of Guelph chancellor Wallin defends her dual role

Senate ethics rules need to be tightened up, says Senate ethics officer

The Face Of Climate Corruption in Canada

Canadians Demanding The Resignation of Senator Pamela Wallin

An American Politician Speaks Out Against Powerful Corporations Working Against The Good of the People – Finally!

U.S. Senator for Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor last week, proposing a path to restore government agencies that have been taken over by corporate interests.  Citing lax oversight and the inappropriate influence of corporations over the Minerals Management Service (MMS), Senator Whitehouse said  “We can no longer wait for more catastrophes to root out improper corporate influence in our government, we have to at long last address the problem of insidious regulatory capture.”

The Senator went on to cite many examples of MMS corruption, including: MMS staff accepting money and gifts from oil and gas companies; senior executives at the agency’s Royalty in Kind office steering contracts to their own outside consulting firm; an inspector in the agency’s Lake Charles, Louisiana office conducting inspections of a company’s drilling platforms while negotiating a job with that company; and other “significant issues worthy of separate investigation, including ethical lapses, program management, and process failures.”

Senator Whitehouse then explained how these activities led to conditions ripe for disaster, and that the answer to this disaster is to “clean house” and free the government from corporate interests:

We must be able to trust our government, both in plain view in front of us, and in corners far from sight, to be serving always the public interest, not doing the secret bidding of special interests; of corporate interests, because that’s where the big money is at stake.

Have we now learned, have we now finally learned, from the financial melt-down and the Gulf disaster, the price, the terrible price, of all those quietly cut corners?

Have we now learned what price must be paid when the stealthy tentacles of corporate influence are allowed to reach into and capture our agencies of government?

I pray, let us have learned this; let us have learned that lesson. I sincerely pray we have learned our lesson, and that this will never happen again. But let’s not just pray.

In this troubled world God works through our human hands; grows a more perfect union through our human hearts; creates his beloved community through our human thoughts and ideas. So it is not enough to pray. We must act.

To read the full transcript of Senator Whitehouse’s speech and view it on video, click here to go to Daily Kos.

Here’s a video of Senator Whitehouse in September, 2008, where he asks a very pointed question of oil company executives and top energy experts at a Senate Energy Policy Forum. This guy seems to “get” it – and in this video he articulates it. What an anomaly he is politics today!


More links:

Senator Whitehouse official website

To send Senator Whitehouse an email to support and encourage him, you can go to his website and click on the “email Sheldon” link on the bottom.  If you’d like to write a letter or telephone him, his contact information is below:

Washington Office:
Hart Senate Office Building
Room 502
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-2921 phone
202-228-6362 fax