Cover art for podcast DRILLED


52 EpisodesProduced by Critical FrequencyWebsite

A true-crime podcast about climate change, hosted and reported by award-winning investigative journalist Amy Westervelt.

52 Episodes | 2018 - 2020

Pioneering Fracking Company Chesapeake Energy Goes Bust

June 30th, 2020


Despite tax breaks, royalty cuts, and other COVID-related incentives, Chesapeake Energy—a pioneer in the American shale gas (fracking) industry—declared bankruptcy this week. It's the first example of what we expect to …

Minnesota and D.C. File Climate Fraud Suits

June 26th, 2020


Two big new suits, in Minnesota and D.C., were filed within 24 hours of each other and allege the same thing: that fossil fuel companies misled consumers about climate change.

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Big Oil's Multi-Billion-Dollar Blind Spot

June 18th, 2020


A new report from Carbon Tracker finds that not only have oil and gas companies not been budgeting for plugging and abandoning wells, they've been grossly underestimating the cost of that work, especially for fracking …

Yes, It's Still Time to Talk About Climate (from Hot Take)

June 14th, 2020


Amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, some climate activists have been saying "now's not the time to talk about climate." In this episode we bring you an encore presentation of the latest Hot Take episode, in …

Introducing: So Hot Right Now

June 8th, 2020


Christiana Figueres shares her formidable optimism and negotiating skills with us so we can all get better about telling stories about nature and climate. This episode sets the scene: 2020 was supposed to be THE pivotal …

Naomi Klein and How the Shock Doctrine Applies to America Right Now

June 7th, 2020


Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine focused on what she calls "disaster capitalism," the sort of corporate feeding frenzy that happens in the wake of major crises. It was on a research trip for that book, to …

What Shell Knew: A Surprising Report from The Netherlands Finds that Shell Was Directly Funding Climate Denial in the 1990s

May 29th, 2020


Reporters Alexander Beunder and Jilles Mast have been combing through 150+ boxes of documents from the personal archive of one of the Netherlands' top climate skeptics during the 1990s, a guy named Fritz Böttcher, and …

No, Climate Action Will Not Be "Just Like Quarantine Only Worse" — Why Letting Go of the Climate Narrative Never Works, a Special Bonus Ep from Hot Take

May 22nd, 2020


Last week, The New York Times ran a story on the GOP's favorite new climate narrative: If you think quarantine is bad, just wait til the Dems impose climate action on you. In this special ep from Hot Take, with Mary …

The Climate Deniers Have Lost Their King, and Still They Soldier On

May 19th, 2020


In April 2020, Fred Singer, longtime king of the climate deniers, died at the age of 95. In this episode, investigative reporter Dan Zegart, author of the book Civil Warriors, about the 1990s tobacco litigation, joins …

The U.S. Government Has Been Rubber-Stamping New Oil and Gas Projects—This Lawsuit Hopes to Change That

May 9th, 2020


A lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over a small project in Massachusetts could have big implications. It aims to …

Old and Wrong: Leah Stokes on the Many Flaws of Michael Moore's Planet of The Humans

April 29th, 2020


Political scientist and environmental policy expert Leah Stokes joins us to discuss the many things the new film Planet of the Humans gets wrong …

Earth Day in Louisiana: A Petro-state Fights Back

April 22nd, 2020


On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the week of the 10-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater oil spill, we head to Louisiana to talk …

Computer-Aided Destruction: Art, Autodesk, and What Accountability Looks Like for the Tech Industry

April 22nd, 2020


French artist Joanie Lemercier has been a thorn in Autodesk's side for more than a year now, since he first pointed out that the California software company's computer-aided drafting (CAD) software keeps Europe's …

How Big Oil Is Using the Pandemic to Push More Plastic

April 16th, 2020


In a new report, the Center for International Environmental Law looks at the way oil, gas and petrochemical companies are leveraging the pandemic to …

In Colorado, Seniors Held Hostage by Fracking

April 15th, 2020


Because of their proximity to oil and gas operations, residents of Broomfield, Colorado were at risk of exposure to flowback-driven air pollution …

New Research Shows Fossil Fuels Are Not As Essential As The Industry Would Like You to Believe

April 7th, 2020


Dr. Julia Steinberger, professor of social ecology and ecological economics at the University of Leeds, has published some really interesting …

Amid the Pandemic Free-for-All, Unlit Flares at Texas Shale Refineries Are Dumping "Unimaginable" Amounts of Methane into the Atmosphere

April 3rd, 2020


Field investigator Sharon Wilson has spotted a troubling increase in methane emissions from refineries in the Permian Basin, in Texas. Things went from bad to worse in January 2020, and really blew up in early March ... …

Reporter Justin Mikulka on Why ExxonMobil and Chevron Are the Biggest Opponents to a Shale Gas Bailout

April 1st, 2020


The American Petroleum Institute, ExxonMobil and Chevron have been amongst the biggest opponents to bailouts for shale gas companies as part of the …

There Will Be Fraud: How the Coronavirus Pandemic Turned into Christmas for Big Oil

March 28th, 2020


The oil and gas industry was headed for broke long before COVID-19. Now the Trump administration wants to use the pandemic to put it on life support, …

Special Episode—Hot Take: Seeing Climate Through Coronavirus Glasses with David Wallace-Wells

March 25th, 2020


Drilled will be back with bonus episodes soon. In the meantime, check out one of our other climate podcasts, Hot Take. In this episode, hosts Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt talk to David Wallace Wells, author of …

S3, Ep 9: Jay Rosen and Nicholas Johnson on What the Media Can Do About Disinformation

February 29th, 2020


This season we've traced the creation of Big Oil's big propaganda machine. In this episode, the season finale, we look at what can be done about it now that it has delivered us into an era of disinformation. NYU …

S3, Ep 8: Meet the Harrisons

February 28th, 2020


E. Bruce and Patricia Harrison launched the E. Bruce Harrison Company in 1973 and ran it until 1996, working for a mix of chemical companies, oil & gas companies, and tobacco companies. E. Bruce is considered the …

S3, Ep 7: John Hill and the Tobacco-Oil-Plastic Triangle

February 27th, 2020


John Hill, founder of Hill & Knowlton, was an Ivy Lee devotee who worked for Standard Oil in the 1930s, strategized against labor movements and …

S3, Ep 6: Manipulating the Masses and Predicting the Future—Edward Bernays and W. Howard Chase

February 25th, 2020


Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, coined the term "public relations" when propaganda started to become a negative term. His specialty was using …

We Interrupt This Podcast for New Research + Emily Atkin and Guardian CEO Anna Bateson on Banning Fossil Fuel Ads

February 18th, 2020


We'll be back with more Mad Men tales next week, we promise! While we're out chasing leads, listen to this great interview from Emily Atkin with The Guardian's interim CEO Anna Bateson about that publication's decision …

S3, Ep 5: Oil Slick, Part 2—False Equivalence and Free Speech

February 11th, 2020


In part two of our episode on former Mobil VP Herb Schmertz, we dig into how Schmertz's approach bred false equivalence, and why he pushed so hard for the extension of First Amendment rights to corporations.

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S3, Ep 4: Oil Slick, Part 1—The Rise of the Corporate Persona

February 4th, 2020


Mobil Oil's longtime PR guy Herb Schmertz really started to aggressively manipulate the media. He introduced so many new bells and whistles to Big …

S3, Ep 3: Psychological Warfare, Astroturfing, and Another Tobacco-Oil Connection

January 28th, 2020


Daniel Edelman learned the tools of his trade combatting Nazi propaganda in WWII, then came home and put his psychological warfare training to work …

S3, Ep 2: The Oil-Nazi-Propaganda Triangle

January 21st, 2020


Ivy Lee worked with Standard Oil and the Rockefellers for the rest of his life, helping to establish the American Petroleum Institute in 1919, and …

S3, Ep 1: The Father of Public Relations

January 21st, 2020


In this season we're tackling Big Oil's big propaganda machine—its origins, the spin masters who created it, and why it's been so effective. It all began more than 100 years ago with Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller …

S3: The Mad Men of Climate Denial

December 5th, 2019


Big Oil gave Hitler propaganda tips decades ago and their PR machine has only grown from there. This season we dig into the history of fossil fuel propaganda and the few "Mad Men of climate denial" who shaped it. Coming …

Youth Climate Suits and Inter-generational Injustice

November 28th, 2019


In the Juliana vs. The United States case, a group of young people sued the government for incentivizing increased fossil fuel dependence, thereby …

Recap: ExxonMobil's New York Fraud Trial

November 8th, 2019


New York's fraud trial against ExxonMobil closed November 7th. Reporter Emily Gertz and Union of Concerned Scientist's Kathy Mulvey watched it …

Fake Reporters and #FakeNews: How Fossil Fuel Companies Hide Behind Energy Blogs

September 3rd, 2019


A look at how those fossil fuel-backed deception campaigns are continuing today, behind a couple layers of energy industry organizations, alliances, and "news" sites. Documentation: Western Energy Alliance 990, showing …

Big Oil Is Ramping Up PR Spend and Oil Production

August 15th, 2019


Two new reports highlight that, since the Paris Agreement in 2016, the fossil fuel industry has ramped up both oil production and greenwashing. Plus: why the heck are mainstream media outlets making Big Oil's ads for …

S2E6: Facing Extinction

May 20th, 2019


As the crabbers' 2018-2019 season comes to an abrupt close, they prepare for a year that could see the fishery close altogether. Meanwhile the oil …

S2E5 David vs. Goliath

May 13th, 2019


As the first industry to sue Big Oil, the West Coast crab fishery is likely to meet an even tougher fight than the states, counties, and cities …

S2E4 Taking Big Oil to Court

May 6th, 2019


As the crabbers' lawsuit against the world's 30 largest fossil fuel producers is filed, we take a look at the evidence, and what exactly sent …

S2E3: Two Lawsuits at Once, Both Driven by Climate Change

April 29th, 2019


Now facing annual closures due to climate change, crabbers learn some new information that spurs them to become the first industry to sue Big Oil. 

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S2E2: A Late Season and a Shaky Future

April 22nd, 2019


As the 2015 delay wears on, and holiday markets come and go, crabbers are getting desperate. Some are forced out of business, others worry that this …

S2E1: A Crisis, a Cover-Up, and a Community on the Front Lines of Climate Change

April 22nd, 2019


In 2015, West Coast crab fishermen were shut down by climate change. Atmospheric changes had warmed waters and upended everything from the food chain …

Coming Soon: Hot Water, a New Drilled Series

April 3rd, 2019

In 2015 a warm water "blob," the result of both warming oceans and shifting wind patterns, wreaked havoc on West Coast fishing towns. Three years …

Big Oil's New Story: The First Amendment Covers Climate Denial

February 5th, 2019


In a batch of aggressive countersuits, Exxon is accusing the counties, cities, and states of conspiring to quash its First Amendment rights to …

Winning the War

November 18th, 2018


Fossil fuel industry influence campaigns ensured that we lost a critical 30 years not taking action on climate change. But all is not lost. The …

Campaigns So Successful They've Landed in Court

November 17th, 2018


The fossil fuel industry's decades-long information war was so successful that even though oil companies themselves began publicly accepting climate …

The First Step to Influencing Policy: Setting Research Agendas

November 17th, 2018


If you unravel climate policy back to its origins, eventually you get to academic research. Although oil companies dramatically reduced their own …

Aggressive Think Tanks, Shouty Pundits, and a New Religious Argument

November 17th, 2018


To make media manipulation and lobbying truly effective, oil companies and their public relations firms also had to shift the culture, influencing …

Exploiting Scientists' Kryptonite: Certainty

November 17th, 2018


In addition to using journalists' views on their own objectivity against them, oil companies exploited various weaknesses in science, namely scientists' tendency toward not prioritizing or valuing good communication …

Weaponizing False Equivalence

November 16th, 2018


As climate disinformation campaigns ramped up in the 1990s, oil companies and their PR firms exploited weaknesses in the U.S. media system and propped up "contrarian" scientists to push the narrative of scientific …

The Turn

November 15th, 2018


As the price of oil dipped in the early 1980s, management changed at most oil companies and the industry as a whole became more concerned with …

The Bell Labs of Energy

November 14th, 2018


In the 1970s and early 1980s, Exxon wanted to be the Bell Labs of energy. It hired brilliant scientists who conducted cutting-edge research on everything from the "greenhouse effect" to renewable energy. At the time, …

Drilled: A True Crime Podcast about Climate Change

October 21st, 2018


Launching November 14th, Drilled is a limited series investigative true-crime podcast about the crime of the century: the creation of climate denial.

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