Our opening prayer “O Heavenly Grid” is dedicated to the late and deceased COP27 climate conference in Egypt. Back in the real world, Katrin Ganswindt from the German enviro group Urgewald reports oil, gas, and coal companies have announced expansion enough to break the future. From Massachusetts, expert glaciologist Julie Brigham-Grette reports ice collapse in the new Cryosphere 2022 report.  We end with a few words from Rev. Billy of The Church of Stop Shopping.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (57 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)



Oh Heavenly Grid,
help us bear up thy Standard, our Chevron flashing
bright across the Gulf of Compromise, standing
Humble on the Rich Field of Mobile American Thinking?
Here in this Shell, we call Life…

– FireSign Theatre (found at 24 min, 48 seconds in this YouTube “How You Can Be Two Places at Once”)(nine American oil companies are                                          mentioned…can you find them all?)



Apparently I missed “Giving Tuesday” – but some listeners made a donation to Radio Ecoshock anyway. If you appreciate this show and blog, please take this opportunity to send a few dollars/pounds/whatever my way? That helps pay for the Ecoshock web site, running on our own server. That means independence and always free downloads for anyone anywhere in the world. As we can’t advertise or seek donations on non-profit radio, really blog readers like you keep this whole show going. This would be a great time to help, if you can.



The reviews are in.


In the UK, long-time Guardian columnist, author and activist George Monbiot TweetedThere was no progress on stopping climate breakdown. COP27 is another terrible failure.


Bill McGuire is Prof Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College London. His headline in the Guardian: “The big takeaway from Cop27? These climate conferences just aren’t working”. It is hard to argue with that. Bill, who has been on Radio Ecoshock, writes:

“No seasoned observers are of the opinion that the world is any nearer tackling the climate emergency. Indeed, the real legacy of Cop27 could well be exposing the climate summit for what it has become, a bloated travelling circus that sets up once a year, and from which little but words ever emerge.  It really does beggar belief, that in the course of 27 Cops, there has never been a formal agreement to reduce the world’s fossil fuel use.”


One of the world’s leading climate scientists says don’t panic yet. From Penn State, this inventor of the famous “hockey stick” of climbing temperatures, Michael Mann says: “Don’t Despair. It’s Never About A Single Cop. Yes, this year’s summit, like every summit, fell short of what is needed. But the overall trajectory is progress. This is not the time to give up on the world’s only functional framework to tackle climate change.


Famous author and lefty activists Naomi Klein says the COP system is not working. Jake Johnson covered Klein’s reaction for CommonDreams: ‘Let’s Try Something New‘: Naomi Klein Calls for Boycott of Next COP Climate Summit. “Now is the time to decide not to do this all over again next year, when the summit will be in the UAE,” Klein said. Yes, the site of next year’s Conference of the Parties is in the super oil and gas producing Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates. That sounds like a great place for activism and input from NGOs, or even those pesky scientists. Except it will be another playground for fossil fuel lobbyists.


Why are world climate summits failing, now 27 times? We should circle back to George Monbiot with his key idea: “the pollution paradox”.

The Pollution Paradox: “The more damaging the commercial enterprise, the more money it must spend on politics to ensure it’s not regulated out of existence. As a result, politics comes to be dominated by the most harmful commercial enterprises.”

George continues: “Global negotiations are a charade. The rich world governments meeting in Egypt at the moment have *no intention* of taking the action required to address the climate crisis, paying the money they’ve promised poor nations or doing anything other than what corporate lobbyists demand. They would rather see the end of the habitable planet than upset their sponsors.

One of the greatest geniuses of all time, Dr. Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I am with Naomi on this one. This process is not working, in fact the COP system is built to fail. Every citizen, group and government who actually want action to get us out of this climate emergency need to start organizing the real climate summit.

In fact, we need far more than a summit once a year on this count-down to climate Hell. The world needs to fund and establish an emergency headquarters built on a distributed network from every quarter of civilization. This institution would have scientists, lawyers, economists, politicians and activists working full time, every hour, to change away from emissions, including an end to fossil fuels, and climate-friendly agriculture. Damaging the climate is a crime, not a plan for profit. Our next guest says climate wrecking is the plan.



The most profitable companies in the world have already announced your future forecast. It’s a greenhouse world where weather extremes and mass casualties are “normal”. Yes, oil, gas, and coal multinationals plan to expand into a Hell-scape way over 2 degrees hotter. They are telling us, right out loud.

A group of non-profits are listening and taking notes. A the global database led by the German environment group Urgewald began tracking world coal projects. But now we also have GOGEL – the Global Oil & Gas Exit List. It tracks 900 companies responsible for 95% of oil & gas production. Our guest Katrin Ganswindt is energy finance researcher for Urgewald.

Listen to or download this 26 minute interview with Katrin Ganswindt in CD Quality or Lo-Fi



According to the Global Oil & Gas Exit List, their new report for 2022 finds:

Oil and gas companies are on a massive expansion course

96% of upstream companies on GOGEL have expansion plans

51.6% of oil and gas companies’ short-term expansion plans are incompatible with the IEA net zero emissions scenario

289 companies are locking the world into a fossil future by developing new midstream infrastructure

212 companies are involved in reputational risk projects

In the data from the Global Oil & Gas Exit List, we find huge expansion plans, leading to something called an “IEA NZE overshoot”. That is the International Energy Agency definition of Net Zero Emissions, and it is conservative.


Looking at the the top six companies behind overshoot of safe climate limits, there is a surprise. We think of Western multinationals like Exxon Mobil, TotalEnergies, and Cheveron. All of those companies are in the top six planning to blow out the climate. But the biggest three fossil expansionists, each with twice the size of overshoot announcements, are Middle East countries: Saudi Aramco, Qatar Energy, and ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Are these major climate killers getting a pass from governments and environmental activists?

As national companies these Middle East oil and gas giants have few public filings or Directors to answer to. They are opaque, they spend many millions of dollars on Western politicians and information makers. They sent dozens of lobbyists to COP27. Direct action is almost impossible in those militarized kingdoms with no tolerance for public protests, or sometimes even bloggers. They cultivate a reputation for being dangerous. Are they “planet killers” when consumers in Europe, Japan, and all over are so glad to get their products? These oil countries are so necessary, even now, they can trade with sanctioned regimes like Iran, or current perceived enemies like Russia. Western countries apparently feel they cannot afford to sanction, or even criticize these absolutist regimes, because as addicts we need the fossil fuels.

There is a TON of business news about new oil and gas developments in the Middle East. Qatar and Iran are opening the world’s largest gas reserve for drilling. China has promised to buy most of that gas in a $60 billion contract. China plans to buy that gas and burn it for at least the next 27 years, according to the contract. They plan to keep the fossil energy burning until 2050, even though China is already suffering through unheard of high temperatures lasting months. I hope to have more on the Middle East gas boom in a coming show.


So much is happening, who can keep track? The Global Oil & Gas Exit List does. We need a stream of reporters and bloggers communicating the real fossil fuel feast, where renewable energy is just a bit of desert. The information is free and global. Part of their drive is to help investors and banks find and avoid companies profiting from climate change. Some corporate structures are designed to obscure ownership in dirty coal production, for example.

Then there is the growing issue of corporate risk and responsibility. More and more publicly-owned companies have to list climate liabilities is shareholder reports. Insurance companies also want that evaluation, and may steer away from high-risk business. Universities should use this database to cross-check, making sure no money held for the university is going toward wrecking the future of students. GOGEL can help divestment campaigns. Students can also check their university is not funding more extreme climate change. People with company or government pension plans should use this tool to make sure the future you save for damages the future you get.


The latest COP27 was held in Africa. European representatives sounded fairly green. But at the very same time, large European companies like France’s TotalEnergies are planning, investing, and building new fossil fuels in Africa. It sounds like energy colonization. Will new energy development really help Africans? History says not. In fact, local communities and ecologies in Nigeria were wrecked by oil, while the people broke into pipelines trying to get a little oil for themselves. Oil and gas wealth are often magnets for corruption and violence in Africa.

Our guest Katrin was first author of this new report “Who is Financing Fossil Fuel Expansion in Africa?” It is eye-opening. Practically none of this ever gets reported in Western media. We are too busy hearing political gossip, sports banter, edutainment and the weather. Africa is not on the mental map in North America. Very few Americans can name a dozen African countries, much less place them on a map. Even the maps used for centuries in the North misrepresented the relative size of Africa. The Mercator Projection, developed in 1569, made Europe look larger and Africa less. Africa contains 20 percent of the land area on this planet. It is three times bigger than the United States.

That “Who Is Financing…” report finds:

In 48 out of 55 African nations, oil, gas and coal companies are either exploring or developing new fossil reserves, building new fossil infrastructure such as pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals or developing new gas- and coalfired power plants. These enormous fossil expansion plans are completely incompatible with the Paris goals and will lock African countries into an obsolete and carbon-heavy energy path.

Some are calling for a halt to “colonial exploitation of Africa’s fossil fuels”.


There is a myth, even in environmental circles: coal is winding down. It is a dirty sunset industry from a past century, headed for bankruptcy and shutdowns. Before the COP, Urgewald along with Stand.earth and 40 partner NGO’s, released the 2022 update for the “Global Coal Exit List”. While some countries are letting old coal plants close, global coal sales are doing quite well, thank you. Some countries, especially in Asia, have financing for ambitious expansion plans.

In the 1990’s, as it industrialized further, India needed to choose their energy path forward. They chose coal, or at least the billionaire Ambani family did. Even recently, the government of India says they need to burn coal at least until 2070.

At the recent Egyptian COP, India called for different language about coal. They continued to argue India should be allotted enough energy to develop as Western countries did. But they added this wrinkle: Why should developed countries discriminate against coal? Europe and America want to keep using gas. They call call this methane fuel “natural”. Some in Europe even want to label it “green”. But India has to give up it’s staple energy source, which happens to be coal? That is their argument.

The top four coal plant developers are all Chinese companies. When a coal power plant is built, the expectation is it will operate for sixty years. All the new coal plants built in the next few years would be spewing carbon and pollution until 2080. At the same time, we are already crossing irreversible climate tipping points. The calendar each year is full of mass disasters.

Urgewald pass the ugly reality on, from their 2022 Coal Exit Report:

Although last year’s UN Climate Summit in Glasgow ended with an agreement to ‘accelerate efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal’, 46% of the companies on the GCEL are still headed in the opposite direction. ‘Out of the 1,064 companies in our database, 490 are developing new coal power plants, new coal mines, or new coal transport infrastructure. Pursuing new coal projects in the midst of a climate emergency is reckless, irresponsible behavior. Investors, banks, and insurers should ban these coal developers from their portfolios immediately,’ says Heffa Schuecking, Director of Urgewald.”

I interviewed Heffa Schuecking in my January 9, 2019 show “Halting Mass Suicide by Coal”.

Halting Mass Suicide by Coal


More from Urgewald and their partners:

“Delaying is the New Denial

Many financial institutions justify their continued investments in the coal industry by claiming that they want to help these companies transition. Our data, however, shows that the vast majority of companies with thermal coal related business are not transitioning,’ says Schuecking. ‘They are either developing new coal projects or dragging out the life of existing coal assets. Delaying has become a new form of climate denial,‘ she adds.



“We cannot negotiate with the melting point of ice.”

– subtitle for State of the Cryosphere Report 2022.

In November, Hurricane Nicole swept away foundations along the Florida coast. The nightly news flashed images of homes and apartment buildings fallen into the sea, or tottering dangerously at the edge. This a glimpse into the future, as ice disappears from the Poles.

To get a global picture of the changing ice-world, a network of scientists formed the International Cryosphere Initiative. Their State of the Cryosphere 2022 report finds sea ice, and glaciers from the Poles to the Himalayas, are endangered species. We reached Julie Brigham-Grette, a scientist at University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-author of the new report. Julie is an authority on glacial geology and their history in past climates.

Listen to or download this 27 minute interview with Julie Brigham-Grette in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


In 2010 I interviewed Dr. Peter Ward about his book “The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps”. My 2010 interview with Peter Ward interview is still on YouTube.  He told us rising seas will be the single biggest impact of climate change. Journalist Jeff Goodell told us again, with his 2017 book: “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World”. If rising seas can reshape or even break our world, doesn’t that put glaciology in the front row of what we need to know? I think it does.


The new State of the Cryosphere report summarizes the main threats with four different futures, depending on our emissions. The first, very low to low emissions sounds like something we hoped for 20 years ago, but I think that is in the rear-view mirror now.

So in the interview we look at sea level rise in two cases. One is Path #2: where 2022 policies are implemented, leading to 2.7 to 3.1°C by the year 2100, and temperatures rise more after that. This seems highly likely to me. What would be the prognosis for the ice-world with that future? And then Path #3: If humans drive the planet to a 4 or even 5 degrees C. hotter state by the end of this century, what happens to the state of global ice?



“Sea level rise is not reversible. It is essentially forever on human time-scales.”
– Julie Brigham-Grettte on Radio Ecoshock

Julie tells us only 3 million years ago there was no Greenland ice and no sea ice. Forests grew right up to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. How hot was it? Just 3 degrees C hotter than Earth was a few hundred years ago, in pre-industrial times. The United Nations reports we are on course for 2.9 degrees C by the end of this century, unless we slash emissions dramatically. It gets hotter after that. But many scientists think that is too optimistic. On our current emissions track, setting a new record again last year, Earth might reach 3 degrees of warming before 2100.

Greenland will not suddenly emerge bare in the next 80 years. Experts think that process, unstoppable once it starts, would take a few centuries at least, for over a mile deep ice to melt away. But the Arctic summer sea ice could be gone now and then during this decade, and possibly forever in following decades. That changes how much solar energy is reflected back into space, creating hotter oceans, more heating, and changes in weather as far away as Tibet.

How? The exact mechanism(s) connecting Arctic Sea Ice and Tibet are still a field of developing science. It is a case of “teleconnection.” Analysis (satellite and ground-based) clearly shows a relationship between specific sea ice in the Arctic and patterns of weather in Tibet. Here is a good paper on what we know: “Effects of Arctic sea ice in autumn on extreme cold events over the Tibetan Plateau in the following winter: possible mechanisms.” That is an Open Access article (free) published October 2021.


In our interview, Julie mentioned the Arctic ice is full of living things. This is partly new science. As Damian Carrington wrote in the Guardian November 17:  “The scientists collected surface meltwaters from eight glaciers across Europe and North America and from two sites on the Greenland ice cap. They found tens of thousands of microbes in each millilitre of water.”


Julie Brigham-Grette used the analogy of warm champaign or soda. It doesn’t hold much “bubbly” – which is carbon dioxide. Colder liquids hold more CO2. Surely that implies even if the Arctic Ocean warms just a little, due to the vast area, that could mean many tons less carbon dioxide sucked into the sea, compared to pre-industrial times.  Every time a “sink” like the ocean can hold less, more of the greenhouse gas pollution from our tailpipes and smokestacks stays in the atmosphere. That means more warming.

Scientists have definitely shown the Arctic Ocean is getting more acidic. But as far as we know, there has not yet been a study into the impact of polar ocean warming and carbon dioxide capture. It would be interesting to quantify this, and then try some projections for low, medium and high emissions scenarios. I think we could be missing yet another factor that will heat the world.



We end this show with a few words from Rev. Billy of The Church of Stop Shopping.  Rev. Billy has his own weekly radio show out now: Earth Riot Radio.  It streams live every Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  Or you can listen to the recorded podcast version.  Find Earth Riot Radio here.

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Thank you for listening, and caring about our world.   Alex.