The Power of Big Oil

The Power of Big Oil is a three-part series that investigates the decades-long failure to confront the threat of climate change and the role of the fossil fuel industry. The series presents a parade of former oil company scientists, lobbyists, and public relations strategists who lay bare how the biggest petroleum firm in the United States, Exxon, and then the broader petroleum industry globally, moved from attempting to understand the causes of a global heating to a concerted campaign to hide the making of an environmental catastrophe. Over three episodes—Denial, Doubt, Delay—the series documents the corporate cooptation of science, the manipulation of public opinion, and political figureheads that mirror conduct by other industries—from big tobacco to the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic.


Part One charts the fossil fuel industry’s early research on climate change and investigates industry efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the science.

Part Two explores the industry’s efforts to stall climate policy, even as evidence about climate change grew more certain in the new millennium. And as leading climate scientists issue new warnings about climate change,

Part Three examines how the fossil fuel industry worked to delay the transition to renewable energy sources — including by promoting natural gas as a cleaner alternative.