Episode 12

DRILLED - The Bell Labs of Energy with Amy Westervelt


In this episode of The Carbon Connection, we explore how Exxon, one of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, once had a goal to become the “Bell Labs of Energy” with Amy Westervelt, host of the Drilled podcast.

This powerful episode tells the disturbing story of greed, short-sightedness, and climate denial. In the 1970s, Exxon knew climate change was a matter of when not if. Employing a team of brilliant scientists to study renewable energy and the effects of greenhouse gases, they were poised to become a leader in alternative energy. But it wasn’t to be. This episode looks at how Exxon missed a huge opportunity– instead of becoming a leader in the field of alternative energy, it became a nefarious player in the current climate disaster.

Drilled is a podcast series by investigative climate journalist Amy Westervelt. Now in its 7th season, Drilled is part of Critical Frequency, a women-run podcast network. 

The Carbon Connection is part of the Carbon Almanac network of podcasts. To learn more about climate change and energy companies, click here. To learn more about alternative energy, click here.


Special Acknowledgment: Amy Westervelt, host of Drilled and executive producer of the independent podcast production company Critical Frequency.

Episode Producer: Katherine Palmer

Editor: Tania Marien

Production Team: Anna Cosentino, Mary Pafford, Dr. Lynda Ulrich

Senior Producer: Tania Marien

Supervising Producer: Jennifer Myers Chua

Music: Cool Carbon Instrumental, Paul Russell, Musicbed

Episode Art: Jennifer Myers Chua

Network Voiceover: Olabanji Stephen

About the Podcast

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The Carbon Connection

About your host

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Carbon Almanac

When it comes to the climate, we don’t need more marketing or anxiety. We need established facts and a plan for collective action.

The climate is the fundamental issue of our time, and now we face a critical decision. Whether to be optimistic or fatalistic, whether to profess skepticism or to take action. Yet it seems we can barely agree on what is really going on, let alone what needs to be done. We urgently need facts, not opinions. Insights, not statistics. And a shift from thinking about climate change as a “me” problem to a “we” problem.

The Carbon Almanac is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between hundreds of writers, researchers, thinkers, and illustrators that focuses on what we know, what has come before, and what might happen next. Drawing on over 1,000 data points, the book uses cartoons, quotes, illustrations, tables, histories, and articles to lay out carbon’s impact on our food system, ocean acidity, agriculture, energy, biodiversity, extreme weather events, the economy, human health, and best and worst-case scenarios. Visually engaging and built to share, The Carbon Almanac is the definitive source for facts and the basis for a global movement to fight climate change.

This isn’t what the oil companies, marketers, activists, or politicians want you to believe. This is what’s really happening, right now. Our planet is in trouble, and no one concerned group, corporation, country, or hemisphere can address this on its own. Self-interest only increases the problem. We are in this together. And it’s not too late to for concerted, collective action for change.